BMW to facelift more frequently
Though it seems that everything is going BMW’s way, the company is internally worried that it is losing customers because its cars look the same for too long. Currently, the typical BMW product cycle is seven years, with one facelift during that time.
According to Forbes magazine and the Financial Times, BMW is thinking of changing that. They are considering doing two freshenings during the seven years.
“More freshening-up of models could make sense. We are thinking about revamping our models twice during their lifetime instead of only once as we have done until now.” That was Norbert Reithofer speaking to reporters at the Frankfort Auto Show. Reithofer ought to know what’s being planned: he’s BMW’s chief executive.
As the purpose of this would be to keep the model looking new during its production life, presumably this would mean a facelift at 3 years and another at 5 years, with the model being complete replaced after 7 years.
There was a time that BMW didn’t need to worry so much about the fashion of the moment. Their cars pursued a timeless styling. If you are on the road today and see a 5 Series from the late ‘90’s, it still looks elegant and sporty in a very solid, German-engineered sort of way. Those designs didn’t need to be refreshed ever two or three years because they always looked fresh. They do even today.
But then BMW went after fashion, molding their cars with carved lines that had nothing to do with form or airflow, but were purely somenone’s idea of decoration. Chris Bangle changed the way BMWs look, and now BMW has to change appearance more frequently, just to let buyers know that this BMW is a couple of years newer than that BMW.
The concept of the annual model change was the invention of Alfred Sloan, the man who ran GM from 1923 to 1956.
Somewhere, surely he must be smiling.