Did the SAV save BMW?

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I ‘m currently driving the X6 50i and pondering how it slots into what BMW has been historically. There has been lots of talk among automotive enthusiasts about the influx of SAVs at BMW and how they may or may not have impacted the brand. Yet they sell. But better news for BMW, they offer more profit per vehicle than anything else in the fleet.

And that leads to the idea… did the SAV save BMW from being gobbled up by a larger automaker years ago? During the corporate buying spree of the early and even mid 2000 ‘s, BMW was ripe for a take-over. It ‘s worth considering that the additional sales and profit from the X5 and the X3 (the single most profitable vehicle in the line-up) sured up BMW ‘s financials and helped elevate the company to where it is today.

Granted the full answer is probably a little less dramatic. BMW ‘s line-up has appealed to more people and surely benefited from the rise of the luxury class in the 2000s.

Additionally, one could make the argument that MINI had a hand in that success as well. Yet you can ‘t overlook the SAV in all of this. And as an enthusiast who has typically cast aside the SAV (rightly or wrongly over the years), I have to admit it ‘s been an important part of the equation for many reasons.

Agree? Disagree? Sound off below.

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  • JonPD

    Think that the SUV (SAV by BMW talk) has helped the brand financially and yet hurt it for the brand image. I tend to think that they had limited other options but still makes me nervous seeing them so aptly following the example of the big three that has proven less than competent business model. I still think the biggest thing looming for BMW is that energy prices will continue to rise, and emission allowances will continue to fall. Both of which really says that BMW’s habit of making heavier cars needing more powerful engines, only to create another heavier car yet that needs a more powerful engine. To me this business model is lacking legs at being anything but painful for BMW in the years to come.

  • Mark

    Sadly BMW as much of a slave to what people will buy as any other car maker. The question you rightly pose is have they already sold their soul to the devil to stay profitable? Like many of us I hope they have done the right thing.

  • Bob

    Mercedes did the ML so BMW did the X5. Nothing new here. Did they give away thier soul so they could stay in business and not go down the tubes like GM and Chrysler? BMW is smarter than that. The core car is still a BMW and better than all the jap cars and rebadged VW’s called Audi’s

  • JonPD

    Not to sure about that Bob while a Datsun outruns the best /M car around the ring and I know of very few that would take any BMW over a R8.

    Also I would point out that the path GM and Chrysler took down the path was by building ever larger and heavier SUV’s. Which last time I checked out the dimension and weight of the broad band of vehicles produced by BMW seems to be the same path they are on.

    I will never claim that BMW is anywhere close to a GM, but I believe the “Ultimate Driving Machine” is more myth than a sizable portion of the brands current product range.

  • TMQ

    BMW is a business so it needs to generate profit. there’s no doubt that SAVs provide enough cash for BMW to continue the 1, 3, 5 series cars. As long as BMW has core products that stay true to the needs of the buyers, I don’t have a problem with SAVS subsidizing cars. This is not unique to BMW, as Porsche’s SUV also provides a big lift to the bottom line.

    However the changes are coming, so it’s no surprising that BMW will consider 4 cylinders again in the U.S., and that Porsche will now be part of VW.

  • BMWNut

    Look no further than Porsche for the answer to this question. Porsche would be dead by now without the Cayenne. After they announced they were building a SUV the purists went crazy and mad ramblings filled the Porsche forums bashing the brand for “giving in”. Now after they’ve seen that over 70% of profits are coming from Cayenne sales they aren’t complaining so much anymore. And how could they? Porsche is building the best cars they have ever made right now hands down. The only reason they are able to do that is from the revenue generated by the Cayenne. Without the Cayenne, we’d be calling Porsche “VW/Audi 2”. Everyone needs to quit complaining about BMW building SUV’s and start caring about something that’s actually relevant to their lives. If you don’t like it, say so and move on. No one cares after that.

  • twowinns

    What people forget about the portion of the public buying SUVs/SAVs is that they need a more versatile car. Either for hauling more people, bikes, boats, etc.

    As much as I love my 335i coupe, it can’t do either of those things. And if I need to buy an SUV, I’d rather buy a BMW version.

    Sure my X5 doesn’t handle as good as my 3 series, or any of the other BMW models. But, it out-drives and out-performs most other SUVs. At least I can get a BMW and the utility that comes with it.

    If it has helped BMW’s financial position, all the better.

    Bottom line….If you don’t want a SUV or even a BMW SAV, don’t buy one. Otherwise, let us that need one have it. The addition of the X3, X5, and X6 hasn’t hurt BMW and it hasn’t diminished your other BMW model. So why gripe?