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Frankfurt show: BMW to take ‘luxury’ further

Car swap: Under the new scheme, owners of an X7 can swap their car up for an 8 Series coupe for a specified period of time.

7 and 8 Series, X7 to fall under BMW’s new exclusive ‘luxury’ banner

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BMW logo13 Sep 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON

BMW has repositioned some of its higher-end models into a new ‘luxury’ product category to offer a more exclusive experience for owners of its most expensive vehicles.

The new initiative will encompass the 7 Series sedan as well as upcoming production versions of the 8 Series sportscar and the X7 three-row SUV that was previewed in concept form at the Frankfurt motor show this week.

BMW will market the top-end models using the company’s full German name, ‘Bayerische Motoren Werke’, and a new black-and-white version of the BMW logo, although the latter will be only be used in marketing materials – the badge on the cars will retain the existing blue-and-white combination.

The German car-maker says it is focusing on “the continued development of relationships with customers, on experience and emotion, and on bespoke offerings” with the repositioning of its top three models.

Under the new plan, owners will have exclusive access to initiatives such as a pick up and return service of their vehicle when booked in for maintenance or repair.

An ‘Add-on Mobility’ service will also be available which gives owners of ‘luxury’ BMW models the opportunity to jump into another BMW model that also falls under the same category.

For example, if 7 Series owners have a short-term need for a seven-seat SUV, they will be able to access an X7 for this purpose, or if they would like a sporty model for a weekend getaway, they can likewise hop into an 8 Series.

BMW has dabbled in this sort of thing before through its ‘i Pure Impulse Experience’ program for i8 owners.

The program facilitates travel, cultural and lifestyle experiences such as “exclusive sightseeing tours and gala dinners in Michelin-starred restaurants to visits to the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, the Art Basel fair in Hong Kong and the White Turf horse races in St Moritz”.

“For these people, life is all about making the best possible use of the time available to them,” said BMW senior vice-president of brand Hildegard Wortmann said. “Their motto is ‘to own the moment’ – that is, to max out every snap-shot of time with meaningful and beautiful things.

“We’re building up a luxury ecosystem of unique services and experiences which embraces the full range of luxury models and creates some extraordinary and unforgettable times.”

BMW Group Australia chief executive Marc Werner told GoAuto at the Frankfurt motor show the new ‘luxury’ branding would “absolutely” roll out in Australia to further emphasise the exclusivity of the top-end models.

“That in itself is like the pinnacle of the BMW brand as far as products are concerned,” he said. “We wanted to give it another lift. We wanted to strengthen the luxury performance brand as such and that is why the company has decided, from a marketing perspective, to go in that direction. Which I believe is very luxurious, very appealing and very aspirational, as it should be.”

The local rollout will kick off Down Under next year with the launch of the 8 Series, according to Mr Werner, who said there would be few changes at a dealer level. The shift will be more evident in marketing communications.

He said the new ‘luxury’ move was created following a review of the brand’s strategy that took place about two-to-three years ago.

“BMW clearly identified that there is potential from a customer perspective to move the brand even further up,” he said.

“And that is actually where it all started and obviously with all these new luxury cars which we are launching very shortly, starting with i8 Roadster and followed by new 8 Series, the strategy was very clearly to give these cars a new image so to speak.”

Mr Werner denied that positioning the trio of models as more exclusive would mean other models in the BMW portfolio would be seen as less premium.

“No not necessarily,” he said. “If you look at the customer, a 7 Series customer is not necessarily a 5 Series customer and vice versa. We have just got to make sure that for each and every segment where we position our vehicles, that we really address it to the right audience and this is what we are doing with this marketing communications concept.”

The 7 Series is already on sale in Australia and while timing for the X7 is unclear, expect it to arrive in 2019.

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