100,000.

That’s the number of the upcoming M3s that BMW expects to sell during the life cycle of the car. That’s what they expect, but it is clear they will sell as many as they can. (Expect to see discounts by the second model year.)
 
The new M3 represents a transitional change for BMW.
 
In the past, the M3 has been a limited production vehicle, one that commanded a premium price and sacrificed a certain level of creature comfort for uncompromised performance.
 
That is not where BMW is going with the new M3.
 
The new M3 is to do volume.
 
Think Thunderbird, in German.
 
This is an evolutionary change. The first M3 sold only 18,000 vehicles. The just discontinued model boosted that to 90,000. So the effort to add another 10,000 vehicles to the sales total should not be all that surprising.
 
But there is more to the story. 
 
The M Division product manager, Carsten Pries, has told the German auto magazine Automobiliwoche that “BMW wants the M3 to be a high volume model.”
 
Not exclusive. “High Volume.”
 
The automotive industry is replete with prestige nameplates that became pedestrian: Thunderbird, Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Thunderbird, Lincoln, Chrysler. All of those were names that once set the car and the buyer in higher level of quality.
 
But each was diminished by its manufacturer until the name no longer had any meaning, other than being the car that only the unsophisticated would deign to drive.
 
Wow.

Now that Toyota wants to gain market share the old-fashioned way, by making all their cars look alike and making market share their overriding goal (GM style).

Comes BMW to reinvent Ford.

Think Thunderbird.

Once the magic name.

But Ford made it mass market because that name made them money.

Until that name, too, became diluted to the point that it no longer had meaning.
It must please the men and women in Detroit, Auburn Hills, and Dearborn to see BMW following in their footsteps.

And it worked so well for them, too.

What do you think?
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