Slow Sales of BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo Disappoint BMW Exec
The BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, a tall hatchback that replaced the 5 Series wagon for the U.S. market, has failed to draw customers who might previously have bought a wagon. BMW North America CEO Jim O'Donnell told Automotive Newsthat he is disappointed the GT hasn't attracted the number of customers he had hoped.
"The disappointment I have is that I thought a lot of our 5 Series station wagon customers would go with the GT," O'Donnell said. "In point of fact, that is not happening."
Instead, the GT is attracting customers who would traditionally buy a BMW 7 Series, as well as conquest buyers who previously owned vehicles from other manufacturers. According to AN, the high rear end of hatchback styling is turning off many potential buyers. O'Donnell is reportedly considering reintroducing the 5-Series wagon to America when the next-generation car debuts.
AN says that BMW sold just 2848 5 Series GTs in all of 2010, and 720 in the first four months of this year. Overall, the 5 Series accounted for 39,488 U.S. BMW sales in 2010, and 16,721 sales in the first four months of 2011. That means the Gran Turismo configuration accounts for less than 10 percent of all 5-Series purchases.
The 5-Series GT launched in the U.S. in December 2009 as a 2010 model, following a debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in fall 2009. A traditional 5 Series wagon is still offered in European markets, but was killed off to make way for the GT on our shores. It was designed to offer hatchback practicality and cargo space, with traditional 5-Series qualities like luxury and a sporty driving experience.
The 2011 model starts at $56,875 (including destination) for the 300-hp, rear-wheel-drive 535i GT, and reaches $67,075 for the 400-hp, all-wheel-drive 550i xDrive GT.The quirky bodystyle commands a price premium of about $5000 versus equivalent sedans; the 550i xDrive sedan starts at $62,875.
In spite of the slow sales, BMW is set to repeat the risky debut: Even though a 3 Series wagon is offered in the U.S., we've spied a 3 Series GT testing on public roads. The car is expected to debut with the refreshed 3 Series lineup in a few years' time.
What would you like to see BMW do with the 5 Series lineup: Offer both the wagon and the GT, or kill off the odd hatchback in favor of a traditional wagon body? Let us know in the comments section below.
Source: Automotive News