Packed restaurant, large elegant wooden farmers table with a nicely fabricated German menus. Ambiance and decor are upscale Bavarian in nature and the 4.25 of us (Max does not eat all that much) are expecting an amazing meal.
The restaurant where we sat was pricey by Bavarian standards although it originated a now popular Bavarian dish. One would think the original should be the best; especially with the price they were asking but it wasn ‘t. I ‘ve had better at half the price, utterly disappointing. Of course the dinner conversation revolved around the lackluster meal and me being me found a way to get BMW into the conversation (group of car buffs). The following is the gist of the conversation.
In some ways the aforementioned restaurant is not all that different than BMW. BMW originated a recipe of rear wheel drive with performance and luxury that has been successful. Other manufacturers saw the success and imitated. The BMW recipe continues to be imitated today. When the restaurant was smaller, with a small menu it produced amazing food and could garner the high asking price with people coming back for more. Now that its size and menu have grown this once fabled eatery has turned into a place that is a one shot deal and repeat customers are few and far between, you couldn ‘t pay me to go back (seriously).
I am not saying BMW is in the same boat now, but they are venturing into uncharted waters. They seem dead set on selling more vehicles, offering more models and entering new segments. If they are successful at making great products, fantastic but with so many BMWs on the road how will they be able to ask a premium- supply and demand (watering down of a brand by going front wheel drive!). The biggest hurdle will whether they will successfully master so many niches because as we have seen with replacing the 5 wagon with an even more niche vehicle didn ‘t really work. Thecompetition on the other hand is more focussed on BMWs core models and they want to take the top spot in terms of performance and luxury rather just volume. The competition is getting closer to the magic recipe and BMW seems set on creating a new one rather than making the original perfect.
I am not dwelling on the distant past but the more recent incarnation of BMW. In 2004, there were the 3,5,7, X5 models as staples and the 1 and X3 were just introduced. Totaling 6 models and a few variants. Fast Forward-> 2014.
There will be the following models: 1001 (FWD), 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5GT, 6, 6 GC, 7, X1, X3, X5, X6, i3, i8. 16 and countless variants (14 models if you discredit the 2/4 since they are really just new badges). So in a mere ten years BMW has added more models than were even available for the better part of the brands existence. I am all for global domination but at some point you can have too much of a good thing and end up stretching too far. There really can ‘t be that many good engineers out there to work on all these models, can there?
///M may have approximated its roots (near perfection) with the recently launched 1M but what is going to get BMW back to its? I just hope the menu doesn ‘t get too full of choices and the quality falls off but sometimes the original is no longer the best especially for the premium charged. Hopefully, BMW will not follow the path of the unnamed restaurant, keeping a course that keeps us enthusiasts loyal patrons.