BMW a victim of the perils of popularity

David Benady’s cover story (MW March 6) raised some interesting questions on the luxury goods market. However, the fact that BMW’s sales have fallen comes as no surprise to myself. BMW has built a formidable reputation for luxury, quality and desirability but in doing so it has made its cars ubiquitous.

When I recently announced my intention to seek a new car, my wife’s immediate response was: “You’re not having a BMW, because everybody has got them”. The suggestion of a Mercedes garnered a similar and only slightly less vociferous retort.

To test her opinion, I indulged in a little car-counting. Sure enough, I found that BMWs are ubiquitous on our roads. As such, they have arguably lost – or are losing – their “luxury” image. I would suggest that Mercedes could be on a similar road. Porsche, on the other hand, retains that “I could get one some day” cachet while still being a relatively rare sight. So it’s either luxury or ubiquity – it would seem that a brand cannot have its cake and eat it.

Nick Thompson

Marketing manager



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