Published on December 28th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
BMW Loves Buyers From China
In the U.S., it’s a neck-on-neck race for the king of the luxury car segment which is BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and of course Audi, therefore it is basically the buyers in China that will change BMW’s fortunes of being No.1 and so a lot depends on the Chinese luxury car buyers.
BMW wants to regain leadership of the luxury sedan segment in North America. The S-Class is the segment’s top-seller with sales of 11,994 through July, down 9%. The 7 series was No. 2 with a volume of 6,139, up 17%. Third-placed Lexus LS had sales of 4,332, down 5%.
But China is the key market. The S-Class will remain China’s top-selling premium sedan with sales forecast to be 34,222 this year, compared with 18,350 for the Audi A8 and 17,303 for the 7-Series. Sales of the 7-Series will pass those of the Audi A8 next year but still be below S-Class sales.
Roughly every second 7-Series that runs off the assembly line in Dingolfing, Germany, is destined for China where handling and performance are less in demand, especially in an executive sedan, compared to comfort and a soft, luxurious ride. These strengths more closely associated with the stately Mercedes S class.
BMW has borrowed a few ideas from their Stuttgart rival as a result. Just as Mercedes did with the S-Class, BMW started by designing the long-wheelbase variant of the 7-Series first and then deriving the 140mm shorter wheelbase version from this, since only 20 percent of customers almost exclusively Europeans – choose the smaller version. They also introduced extras such as diffusible fragrances for the interior that are popular with Chinese customers, a feature Mercedes has already introduced.
The new 7-Series Long, which accounts for all the models sold in China and the U.S., comes with the optional Executive Lounge Seating, which BMW says provides a “superlative standard of travel comfort” comparable to flying first class.
At the touch of a button, the front occupant’s seat (typically empty for large, chauffeur-driven sedans) moves an extra 90mm forward, the back folds forward to maximize leg room, and a footrest pops down. The rear seat also declines nearly 43 degrees and an assortment of massage programs can be selected. Other features include a removable command tablet that controls the infotainment options for the 10-inch rear displays that can play blue-ray quality films.