BMWNA Disappointed with 5GT Sales & Plans to Keep 3 Series Wagon

 File this under we told you so. Autonews is reporting BMWNA is disappointed with 5 Series GT sales. According to BMW the wagon/SUV hybrid isn ‘t attracting the 5 Series wagon crowd and instead stealing sales away from the more expensive 7 Series.

“The disappointment I have is that I thought a lot of our 5-series station wagon customers would go with the GT, ” O ‘Donnell says. “In point of fact, that is not happening. We have lost those customers to the competition — mainly to Mercedes-Benz.

“The GT has attracted 7- and 5-series customers and conquests, ” he says, “but not the station wagon customer we had hoped. ”


Perhaps more importantly for BF readers BMW has changed their mind on wagons in the US given this news. THey now are publicly saying they will keep the 3 Series wagon in the US when the next generation touring debuts next year.

O ‘Donnell says he doesn ‘t want to lose wagon sales to Mercedes-Benz so BMW will keep the 3-series wagon in its lineup.

“We are not giving up the 3-series wagon because if you give it up, they will go straight to the competition, ” he says.

And what about the 5 Series wagon?

O ‘Donnell says it may be too late for this generation. “It ‘s in the back of my mind, ” he says. “When we do the next generation, maybe we should. “

You can read more over at

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  • Anonymous

     And lump the 5dr 1 series in with the practical cars they should be bringing here.

  • Spiffy

     Take a look at the rear window of the 5GT and it’s obvious that any dog in that trunk would be grilled in the sun….so no, the wagon crowd is not looking to turn their family pet into a hot dog.

  • Mrdirosa

    Yay!  I put off getting the wagon last year, but now that our first child is on the way I’m regretting that decision.  I’ll be moving from my 3 sedan to a new 3 wagon with the new generation! 

  • Les

    Great news! I’d like to see the 1 Series 5 door as well. 

  • 850CSi

    Hopefully they will stop  the 5 Series GT production.

    It’s one of the ugliest BMWs …ever. (with the E65 7 Series)

  • NateXTR

    Oh Happy Day!!!  This news made me smile.  My e90 Lease is up next summer and I have been struggling with what I am going to get to replace it.  I loved my e91 and am curious about the F11! 

  • Anonymous

    Look at the design and proportions of the beautiful 5-series wagon and compare it to the ungainly GT. It’s just horrible looking.

  • wagonsrock

    Wonderful – now bring back the 5-series wagon. How can it be to late in the model cycle to do this; the F10 has only just been released and still has several years to go in the US market before replacement. I like many hated the GT when I saw it in person, and was thinking, with great reluctance, of giving up on BMW and going to Audi or Mercedes to get my next wagon. Now I’ll hang on to the 535 touring a few year longer.

  • Adam

    The guys over at Top Gear described this car as a sort of “fat old auntie” and I guess there right. The wagon has a personality and a style all its own that really cant be done over with a taller vehicle with a hatch.  Perhaps this may prompt BMW to import at least the 528i and 535i in wagon form.  I hope this also has BMW re-thinking the whole niche needs to be filled idea they have and actually see if it needs to be filled.

  • HERR26

    Federalizing a model to adapt to US safety is expensive and because the 5er Touring is an Individual model it has to go through it’s own programme.   And BMW in Munich can not justify the handful of Premium wagons sold in the US as a reason to do so. I have covered this issue before on why tourings do not sell and it is because American customers will go for the SAV because of greater requirements offered over the Touring such as security , safety , flexibility and status.  

    It is not the car which is at fault but consumer trends are very much different in the USA than they are in Europe.

    In regards to the Touring BMW did not justify the expense of the federalisation programme to justify the typical handful of Premium US wagon sales. Volvo has followed and now has Audi.Given the choice of the Touring 3er and 5er they went for the X3 and X5, Audi seen the Q7 was outselling the A6 Avant and pulled it . The Q5 is outselling the A4 Avant and Volvo’s V70 lost out to the XC60/90.Given the choice between the status and security of an SAV and SUV . US buyers always go for the SAV/SUV especially in the Premium segment.Some say they should have a choice but in regards to the 3er (E91) and X3 they take the X3. Same as the A4 Avant and Q5.And when the ML-Klasse comes later this year the choice between E-T-Modell and ML-Klasse will be simple. They will take the ML-Klasse.

    Where does this leave the F31? I knew in past tense they had no plans to federalize it due to the sales response towards the E91 like the E61. In terms of the new X3 ? The F25 has been extremely successful and that success has also taken E91 sales. 

    Whether it is enough for BMW to overturn that decision is unknown to me at this time.   But like the 5er Touring  before it, sales for the E91 are not as expected , however it is up to Munich to make the decision just as they did with the F11.

    • Natextr

      Well thought-out and reasonable as always. That said, emotionally, I want a small wagon to put my bike in or on top of. There are a number of reasons that the wagons don’t sell very well (though, living in CT, I do see a fair number of them). The first and fore-most in my mind is that dealers, and therefore, BMWNA don’t support them. When I ordered my e91 in 2006, I went to three dealers looking for a car to test-drive. Only the third had one. One of the other dealers said “you can drive the sedan and just approximate the extra cargo room;” another suggested that I look into the X3! Even the dealer I wound up ordering (did ED) mine from knew so little about the car, it was laughable. Funny story though, when I took re-delivery of my e91, everyone at the dealer commented about how great it looked (it was electric red). Two months later when I went in for service, they had my exact car on the lot (I see it around town all the time). Finally, when I ordered my e90 sedan, I wanted another e91, but the money-factor and residual was so much worse than the sedan that it would’ve cost me almost $80 more per month to have the wagon. Since BMWNA sets things like residual and MF, wouldn’t it make sense for them to make the wagon more affordabe and the sedan less to help move more? Finally, BMWNA, has probably put the wrong engine in the car as well. I, personally, would be quite interested in either a diesel or four-cylinder option in the next generation 3er wagon if it were to make it stateside. As for Audi, Volvo and MB walking away from wagons, since when does BMW follow trends? I like BMW because they are trend-setters. Additionally, you cannot throw a dead cat around here without hitting an Allroad, A6 avant or A4 avant. Somebody who has an attractive, well-made offering will earn business from all of those drivers when their current vehicles become too old or their leases expire. Not everybody wants an SUV… N.B. In my above post, I referenced the f11, I meant to say f31.

      • goat

        I agree with what you are saying here. Essentially, there is a chicken-and-egg situation: Is bmw not selling wagons because customers don’t want a wagon? Or, would they sell more wagons if there were some in the showroom and on the lot for sedan and SAV customers to look at? It is the same reason that nearly every 3-series sold of late (at Canadian dealers I am close to) is automatic transmission and x-drive. It’s what the dealers order en masse, and so, unsurprisingly, it is what customers drive off with.

    • Michael

      I don’t believe this based on simple math. How much does federarization cost? Even if it cost 10 million, BMW it worst years sold 1200 wagons. Over 7 years cycle it is about 10000 cars. $1000 per $60K car is not a big deal. I paid $70K for my wagon with tax and extra $1K wouldn’t break the bank.

      Now, BMW would sell more wagons if they didn’t neglect practical side of the car. For example, where is tow hitch that it is available in Europe? No need to tow a boat, but rear mounted bike carrier is important. 2 bikes on roof is simple not a deal for family trips. Unless your family is 2 person. If you can call that family… Gas mileage matters too. Although I own 535 wagon I’d rather take 528 or better still, diesel – it is not a race track car, it is a practical BMW. My wagon is doing 17.5 mpg where my previous 530xi easily made 20.5mpg.

      And of course, GT fedelarization was well worth it right? Frankly I can’t believe that 7-sized 4-seater with focus of comfort of 4 adults traveling to a golf course was somehow deemed replacement for a family wagon by BMW management. Kids certainly don’t need reclining seats.

      • Michael

        And besides, to sell something you need to advertise it. I’ve seen countless ads for X5 and none for the wagon. So here you go. Also, there is a such thing as a face of the company. Pushing SUVs is not smart nowadays even if it generates money. Many things generate money, but some better be avoided.

  • Spkavyo

    Just admit you made a mistake and start bringing in the 3 & 5 series wagons. The new 5 series wagon is the best looking car in the lineup! Losing sales to the competition is not necessary. S.P.. Kavyo

  • GreatBIgRichard

    uggh. automakers and mainstream auto press can be so stupid. 

    “Americans don’t like hatchbacks no matter how much Europeans want us to like them,”  

    Umm no. We don’t like sh!tty compromise ugly hatchbacks. Do they bring us the nifty nice little ones (aka the 5-door 1er?) No. But then they make up this hideous thing with a little narrative in their tiny little brains that “well Americans will like this because…” and spend a kings ransom making it and sending it over. Dumb dumb dumb.  And the butt-kissing AW type press eats right into the stuff and parrots it all back.  Damn now I’m having flashbacks to my time working in Detroit with some of these idiots… 

  • JonPD

    Count me happy to see this loathsome bit of AARP mobile retiring! Was totally not amazed that the three I ever saw on the road each had drivers in the 60+ looking year old group.

    Even better that wagons will continue to be sold.

  • m8o

    After years of waiting the 5-series finally looks ‘sexy’ again, and we’re denied the wagon version of it.  Sheez!

    I took a little pleasure out of dismissing the GT as an option as being too ugly and heavy when speaking to someone about the 5-series wagon @ the NY Auto Show. … As useless as that probably was anyway as that guy I was talking to didn’t realize the wagon wasn’t even being sold in the US presently.  BMWNA, way to pick the best to populate your space and help your potential customers @ the autoshow.

  • goat

    If I can put in another request to BMW (maybe Herr26 can pass this along?).  🙂 

    Please bring the next-gen 3-series wagon variant to Canada. Don’t accept E91 “take rates” as wholly indicative of potential customer demand for a 3-series wagon. I firmly believe that if the E91 was sold in Canada with the N54/N55, and the option for manual transmission and RWD, you would sell many more of them. (I know I would have ordered one over the E90 variant in that spec, FWIW.)