Niche Marketing Knows No End Apparently
is killin' me! Model proliferation is out of control: No niche is too
small or too obscure. Recently, BMW removed the coupes—the 2-doors—from
the 3 series and renamed them the 4 series. Henceforth, all 3 coupes are
the new 4s. Fine. Not necessary, but fine. Not that the 3 sedan is
lonely in the showroom. Besides the perennial bestselling sedan, there's
the X3 crossover, a tall 5-door. There's the 3 Gran Turismo, a 5-door
hatchback taller than the sedan but lower than the X.
Don't forget the 3 wagon, another 5-door with a slightly longer roof at
sedan height. The 3 series has one 4-door and three 5-doors. I may be
But just introduced at Geneva? A new 4-door in
the 2-door 4 series, the 4 Gran Coupe. A couple of years ago, BMW came
out with the 6 Gran Coupe, a 4-door 6 series coupe so this follows the
pattern. I'm pretty sure the new 2 series will include a low-roofed
4-door as well, 2 Gran Coupe. Rumored next, the X4 5-door crossover—a
fastback version of the X3 5-door crossover—much as the X6 is basically a
fastback X5. Not to be confused with the 5 Gran Turismo, a 5-door
hatchback taller and frumpier than the 5 series but not as "utiliarian"
as the X5. I may be forgetting one. Or two.
So many 4-doors, so
many 5-doors. Coupes with 2 doors, coupes with 4-doors. Hatchbacks,
crossovers, tall wagons, low wagons. The Ultimate Driving Machine was
best with the least number of models. Concentrate on the important
stuff, BMW! I'd bet the next generation will be reined in depending on
what sticks to Munich's walls this go 'round.
Thanks for listening!
When I wrote the above screed, I didn't realize the "rumored" X4 was so close. It was introduced today at the Geneva show. And yes, it's a fastback, 5-door version of the X3, looking almost exactly like a slightly smaller X6.
I created two X4s in 2011, but I gave them only 3 doors, hoping BMW would give it a unique bodystyle, but they didn't.