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There's not many missing now with the X1, X3, X5 & X6 - and now the X4


Mook
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I think I get the X4, the one I'm struggling with is the 4 series Gran Coupe. As we know, the 4 series is the coupe version of the 4 door 3 series. So of course it makes perfect sense to launch a 4 door versions of the coupe....

 

It's an expanding class - Mercedes kicked it off with the CLS, then VW followed with the Passat CC - and now we have both BMW with the 4GC and Mercedes with the CLA.

 

I can see the appeal - many people would like a coupe, but most company car lists exclude them for not having enough doors.

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I think I get the X4, the one I'm struggling with is the 4 series Gran Coupe. As we know, the 4 series is the coupe version of the 4 door 3 series. So of course it makes perfect sense to launch a 4 door versions of the coupe....

But the 4GC USP is it's a hatchback. Err like a 3GT. Bugger now I am confused.

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Another car I can't relate to. I don't get modern cars, I'm bored of them all. Excite me, someone, please. :(

 

Feeling much the same. Very tempted to sell the BMW and buy something ten years old that's vaguely interesting. Still got to sort the 18-30 chariot too! Bit in limbo there - at this rate I'll be selling the BMW and buying something interesting that's twenty years old...

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Another car I can't relate to. I don't get modern cars, I'm bored of them all. Excite me, someone, please. :(

I know what you mean, gone are the days of choosing between a 3, 5, or 7 series BMW, a ford Fiesta, Escort, Cortina or Granada*.

None of the 'niche' cars actually offer any advantage whatsoever over a traditional model other than being niche.

However, there are some really fantastic cars out there at the moment, if you wade through the mire and dig out the special ones, you could argue that as petrol heads, we've never had it so good.

Cars have never been so capable, so reliable, and so well equipped, you can buy a small hatchback that will embarrass much more expensive machinery with Renault Sport models, cars that sound like thunder with neck snapping acceleration from AMG, stripped out track racers for the road from Lotus, estate cars that try and attempt time travel as they surge away from a red light from Audi RS, a family shopping hatchback with 300bhp and 4wd from VW, the list goes on!

*of course we need to conveniently forget models such as the Escort were available in 3 or 5 door, hatchback or estate etc.

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But with the exception of the RenaultSport models, which are for people twenty years younger than us, everything else you mention is forty grand plus. The domination of the so called premium brands has all but destroyed the market for sub-premium cars that are actually interesting. Everybody wants the badge, even if it means a 1.8 diesel engine and sh!t suspension.

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Not sure I agree, even Vauxhall make small cars with silly horsepower that still don't go around corners!

The Fiesta ST is a cracking car, let alone the Focus RS.

And in a few years time, these 40k cars will be 15k!

And that's before we look to the new kids on the block, Kia's first serious foray into hot hatches is getting rave reviews.

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Ridiculous isn't it.  Even more hilarious is when BMW or Merc or Audi launch another pointless niche model, the other German manufacturers follow suit.  Audi are launching more models alongside the current Q3 Q5 and Q7.  Hard to believe only 15 years ago Audi sold just the A3 A4 A6 A8 plus the TT which arrived Feb 1999.

 

Watched this 2012 Chris Harris Drive channel feature again the other day, interesting view on 'niche' models....

 

 

(work safe in case 'car pr0n' in the Youtube title upsets anyones work filters....)

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Ridiculous isn't it.  Even more hilarious is when BMW or Merc or Audi launch another pointless niche model, the other German manufacturers follow suit.

 

Whilst I know what you're saying, it isn't ridiculous and it isn't pointless.

 

Because people want them.  They wouldn't make them if they didn't.  It is rare that either of those 3 manufacturers make a marketing error.

 

The amount of market research they conduct is staggering. 

 

I get the X4.  In fact I almost get it more than I get the X6.

 

Why did Bugatti make the Veyron?  It was pointless and what's more wasn't it made at a loss?  But they did.  That's pointless, yet BMW will probably make a truckload of cash out of the X4.  That makes it anything but pointless.+++

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Do they actually make a profit on ALL these cars though? I accept that many components are shared across platforms but surely the production runs and the tooling costs must outweigh a lot of the profit.

Look at all the tv shows about running restaurants: The one thing that gets repeated time and time again is have a small menu and do it well rather than having hundreds of choices done either badly or mediocrely.

All manufacturers follow suit and if one does one thing and creates a niche, they all dive in. The cake isn't big enough for all of them.

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Hypothetically, if they do get it wrong and lose a shedload of cash... so what? It's their own money.

Oddly, these people tend to get it right. It's when people are doing it with our money that they tend to get it wrong. Government IT project, anyone?

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Do they actually make a profit on ALL these cars though?

 

I don't know about Mercedes and Audi, but there are going to factors such as contribution and the cost of production is always going to be reduced if you're maximising your available working time to the absolute peak.  Plus, if you're pushing your suppliers to the limit with more carrots being offered, you're probably going to reduce the cost of production on other models too.  That is how I understand BMW to work it.  I know a guy who is working in Munich for them at the moment (in marketing) after 2 years in Reading.  He said it never ceases to amaze him what an incredibly well oiled machine they are (no pun intended) and that they very rarely miss a trick.  I was told a tale (maybe it was just that, I have no proof to suggest otherwise) about how they were even redistributing lost energy from hand tools into the plant for production machine operation.

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