BMW claim to make the ultimate driving machines, they almost always look sleek and expertly built, apart from the 1 series, which to me resembles a loaf of bread, albeit a loaf of stale, rock hard bread, and each series seems to be reinvented with minimum fuss yet maximum style. BMW build purposeful cars for many different purposes, and they remain best at making efficient speedsters too.
But over the years, in the UK especially, BMW has been tarnished by those that drive them. Almost every driver has been cut up by a tosser in a BMW, and if you haven’t then I doubt very much that you drive that often.
BMW’s became incredibly popular with the 1980s yuppies, with a ridiculously large disposable income. In October 2006, BMW drivers were voted the worst by a poll of more than 5000 drivers, and a larger poll, of 21,000 drivers, by Autotrader in 2008 also found BMW top of the pile.
It is ignorant to tarnish every BMW driver with the same brush but it is clear that BMW drivers are beginning to be stereotyped – either wrongly or rightly. And it really isn’t the fault of BMW themselves – they do not choose who drives their cars. And there isn’t a great deal that the company themselves can do.
After all it isn’t as if BMW only manufacture sports coupes. They make vehicles across the board, apart from a hatchback, although the BMW 1 series was released in order to entice the top-end hatchback drivers. BMW are even contemplating the launch of an entire brand of green cars, to complement the three they already have – BMW, Mini and Rolls Royce.
And what more can you ask a car manufacturer to do? You cannot complain that BMW are not good at what they do – designing and building efficient, quality vehicles, some of which can drive very fast. BMW’s always set quick times around the Top Gear track, and more often than not, get rave reviews from Jeremy Clarkson – a glowing reference indeed!
It’s just unfortunate that the BMW brand name has been dragged through the mud because of idiots who believe that as soon as you get behind the wheel of a BMW you do not have to signal, can cut people up at roundabouts, drive up people’s backsides and generally believe they own the road.
One thing the stereotype has not done though is to hinder sales. BMW dealerships continue to perform well, with BMW remaining one of the finest brands in the motor industry – more renowned for their quality and class than for this unwanted stigma that BMW drivers are inconsiderate, arrogant arseholes.
Obviously, sales of brand new BMW’s are down, but sales of used BMW’s at BMW dealerships are similar to last year’s figures – of course profit margins are down due to BMW dealerships having to lower prices to entice buyers, but given the state of the economy, and with the UK in recession, BMW dealerships are performing strongly.
Given the fact that BMW recorded record new vehicle sales figures in 2007, the brand is still very strong, despite stiff competition from Audi and Mercedes.
It would appear that this negative stereotype that BMW drivers have does not affect company performance, despite many idiots doing their best to continue to win various ‘worst driver’ polls. Be it urban myth or a stereotype with solid substance the BMW group are probably not that bothered, as the positive factors behind the BMW brand easily outweigh the negatives.