When I look at new car releases nowadays, all of which based on the same platform or chassis, I can only wonder what is going through the minds of project directors inside manufacturers. What makes them think that there is actually a need for a certain model?
Let’s take a closer look at the 3-series BMW. We all know it is an amazing car. Not only is a very practical saloon, but also fun to drive. In my opinion, it is definitely the best car in the category. Nevertheless, somebody inside BMW must have thought that the 3-series saloon was not enough. So why not create a GT version? Ok, there are people who may need some extra headroom and space that do not want to buy a SUV. It may be ugly, but we can find a purpose.
But why not go for the touring version instead? It is almost the same car as the saloon – meaning it is as brilliant – and nothing beats the practicality of a touring, specially if you need to carry some stuff in the back. So why would you buy a GT version? Definitely not because of the way it looks. If you are talking about dynamics of the GT, again, you are lost, since it is bigger and heavier than a regular 3 series.
The madness does not stop there. All 3-series coupes are now called 4-series. I don’t know who made this call inside BMW, but that was a poor decision – now we will not have a M3 coupe anymore – it will be called M4. Just a spit on the face of the brand’s history. Although the new 4-series is one hell of a good looking car, why would you build a 4-series gran coupe? I know it is just a matter of style, but come on now – how many cars we have in the count over the same platform? 3-series saloon, touring and GT… 4-series coupe and gran coupe. Why not make just a beauty as the 4 series gran coupe as the regular 3-series saloon?
Don’t even get me started with the SUVs/SAVs. I mean, we have the X1, X3, X4, X5 and X6… possibly an X7 on the way. Do we really need all of those? Is there a demand for so many different, but rather similar, models. I dare somebody to find a reasonable criteria to choose one of them, aside from stylistic reasons.
This is not just an exclusivity of BMW. Mercedes Benz seems to be on a quest to launch as many models as they can until they complete the whole alphabet.
Other brands choose a different path – instead of launching different models, they keep the same car in production for a decade and make multiple releases of different versions. Lamborghini, for instance, mastered this art with the Gallardo. Don’t get me wrong, the Gallardo will forever be a myth of the automotive history. Nevertheless, instead of having a dignified death, they kept on reviving the same car to a point it became ridiculous.
Bugatti is also going the same path with the Veyron. Ok, the VW group always knew that the Veyron would not generate profit, but it served a purpose – showing the world how much technology can you put into a car. Nevertheless, recent Veyron releases are following the same trend seen with the Gallardo. The newest idea is the Legend Series in which you pick up a Veyron and just give it different names based on automotive history.
Other manufacturers just go into an identity crisis, placing the same front design in all of its models, such as VW and Audi.
Manufacturers should not be taking consumers for granted the way they are doing.
The point is: why manufacturers do not focus on making a good and special car, instead of making some many variants of the same car? I mean, I have argued that the industry pushes for more and more technologies which would require more testing before going into production; so why not put the foot on the brake, slow things down and start producing meaningful cars?
Current regulations pose a significant challenge to the industry – how to make cars more efficient and less polluting? It seems that the strategy found so far is just downsizing the hell out of engines, taking their soul away and creating multiple variants of same models, with different designs to couple with the absence of personality of modern cars.
As a consumer, I really miss a genuinely original idea, a really great car that everybody can buy. Not to say that modern BMWs, Mercedes or Audis are a crap; but they lack the personality these brands used to so clearly shout about!
Hopefully, somebody in the automotive industry will read this and understand my point. WE CLAIM FOR GENUINELY GOOD AND ORIGINAL CARS, not just re-paged versions of the same car. Something that will easily distinguish itself from the crowd and make drivers feel special. Sometimes, less is more and I couldn’t argue a different case for the automotive industry.