Group 1 CEO chides BMW and Mercedes-Benz on sales emphasis

Article by Anita Panait, on January 13, 2012

BMW AG and Mercedes-Benz have been putting more emphasis on sales leadership instead of brand value, according to Earl Hesterberg, CEO of Group 1 Automotive Inc. “The conclusion of every month brings more comments and boasts regarding which brand is selling the most,” Hesterberg said during the Automotive News World Congress conference in Detroit.

Hesterberg added that quantity seems to be surpassing quality and brand value in terms of emphasis.  He also described the rhetoric of BMW and Mercedes as “concerning.” Mercedes announced January 9 that it did not disclose its final 2011 U.S. sales results because BMW might revise its figures to become the best-selling luxury brand. 

BMW, the newly crowned premium car top seller in the U.S., denied the accusation and made a mention of Mercedes’ incentive spending.

BMW, Mercedes and Audi are competing for the title of the world’s number one luxury carmaker, Hesterberg disclosed, adding that the companies are counting on the Chinese market this 2012. The Group 1 CEO, however, expressed concern if the Chinese market dries up.  “We’ve seen it in Europe already where certain countries have dried up, and too many vehicles are getting pushed into market,” he said.

The compact sports sedan segment all began with the BMW 3-Series Sedan. Throughout this car’s history, it has become synonymous with the marque’s alluring design and dynamic sportive performance. Now in its sixth generation, its dynamically refined lines emphasise the mid-size’s sportiness and underline its status as an internationally top-selling premium car. Though it is now larger than its preceding model, the new BMW 3-Series still carries an ideal blend of elegance and dynamism. Just like its predecessors, the new sedan’s energetic proportions are composed of a sweeping hood, short front overhang, long wheelbase and the characteristic BMW set-back cabin.

Sophisticated precisely contoured and multi-faceted front end

New 3-Series has a wedge silhouette and a track wider by 37 and 47 mm at the front and rear, respectively. This brings to the fore the car’s sporty appeal, which is also highlighted by its expressively multi-faceted front end when viewed face-on. The vertically-oriented, slightly forward-slanted BMW kidney grille is wider and calls attention to the car’s stance.

The eye-catching twin headlamps have LED accent lights above, like eyebrows, which intensify the classic BMW focused appearance. Corona rings are also present with the optional xenon headlamps. These headlamps now reach the kidney grille frame so that they appear stylishly merged and further highlight the sedan's wide stance. Two larger air intakes now take the place of the central intake seen on the previous BMW 3-Series.

These are set under the headlamps to the front lateral edge, again contributing to the car’s sportiness. The main ducts also have small vertical intakes on their lateral sides. This forms the “Air Curtain” which, by smoothening air flow around the front wheels, improves aerodynamics as well as fuel efficiency especially when driving fast.

The tight but squat kidney grille openings feature striking surrounds that are among the most noticeable front end details. The clear creases of the elaborately contoured hood also finish here. Overall, these elements compose a low-slung facial appearance, making the BMW 3-Series look distinctively dynamic from the front.

Topics: bmw, mercedes-benz, sales

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