MUNICH-In the final laps of “Race of the Supercars,” what has become a BMW event upstaged a batch of rivals in a premiere of the 650i Gran Coupe at glitzy Santa Barbara, CA.
The 6-series Fall-Coupe newcomer from Bimmer was a belated starter in the supercar derby, dubbed a “coupe” in Munich but actually a roomy sibling of the highly touted 5-Series sedan.
BMW was invited to join other “supercars” at the annual CAR seminars in early August, but as the Champion seller in the global luxury sedan segment opted to treat select non-seminar autowriters to rides in posh Santa Barbara County.
So…with a luxury segment filling with contenders seeking the gold show-car-of-the-year medal, BMW staged a belated reveal of its 6-series coupe/sedan for dealers and media types.
The Bimmer Boys from Munich, have thrown down their competitive cards in a blatant bid to prevail in the supercar battles. Among Gran Coupe foes are: Ford Grand Torino (GT) Brougham; Audi 7; Mercedes-Benz CLS, Corvette and Porsche Panamera. The Gran Coupe itself, priced from the 80s and 90s, “is hard to justify,” being $24,500 more than Honda’s Accord sedan, writes NY Times autocritic John Huffman.
A CAR senior executive skilled in vehicle sales forecasts, Dr. Sean McAlinden opened the Seminars with a prediction of 15.3 million to 15.4 million units this year, striking a downbeat note. But by the August 8 termination date on the shores of Grand Traverse Bay, speakers had raised their sights to 15.9 million by 2016-a long downcycle from end of 2009’s Great Recession scars.
Extra added highlights:
- Industry data icon RL Polk was sold to IHS Automotive-giving dealers a new source for gauging their markets.
- The fleet MPG goal of 54.5 by 2020 still freaks out automakers-but will open doors to a diesel surge like Honda Fit, Chevy Cruze and all VW/Audi brands.
- Youngster “discontent” in car owning will prompt captive lenders to reduce lease rates as a sales spur, i.e. $99-a-month payments for subcompacts Cruze and Golf.
- More roomier in CAR audiences than ever before reflects surge in female engineers at tech centers and plants. It was the dressiest CAR seminars in its 40-year history.
- When, if ever, will CAR add a marketing panel?
- Number of female engineers who spoke, however, as many as 8, did set a record?
- Future hunch next UAW president could be a woman and also a Seminar speaker in 2014 or 2015.