Theme: Evolution – Proliferation

Ode to Joy…

Untitled-1Four decades ago, BMW’s range looked like this.

The body copy here attempts to challenge the contemporary perception that BMW was essentially a niche manufacturer with a tiny range of specialist cars by highlighting the broad scope of BMW’s 1975 UK range: 14 cars. Today there are as many variations of the current 3-door 1-Series available upon these shores. So while the 40-year old range could fit on an single A4 sheet, BMW’s entire 2015 range would now require a good 38 pages – and most likely a glossary of terms.

It’s obvious BMW as a company have grown massively in the last four decades, but the staggering fact is today’s UK range; (one we mustn’t forget has yet to be further swelled by the newly announced 7-Series), amounts to 37 vehicles and 458 model variants. I’m not joking – I checked*.

The 3-Series is (unsurprisingly) the most prolific, with 41 saloon variants, the same number of Touring models, 33 Gran Turismo variations and 3 Active Hybrid models. That’s 118 individual model choices. You may be equally unsurprised to learn Ford offers a mere 38 variants of its Mondeo to UK customers – and that includes a hybrid and the Vignale. And were you aware it’s possible to order a 5-Series Gran Turismo in 12 different flavours? BMW’s problem now is the inverse of the one they faced forty years ago – to successfully distract our attention from the fact it’s no longer a specialist marque.

The 3-Series made its début in 1975. There was only one body style and one engine choice. Doesn’t time fly?

*sourced from BMW UK.

Author: Eóin Doyle

Co-Founder. Editor. Content Provider.

2 thoughts on “Theme: Evolution – Proliferation”

  1. I’ve never liked too much choice. Maybe that’s because of my age. Post War rationing was still in place when I was born and Britain remained quite an austere place through most my youth. Yes, there were the Sixties and E Type Jaguars but, as most people of my age will testify, that wasn’t their everyday lifestyle, and I speak as someone who was fortunate to have a parent who was earning very well back then.

    Today, choice is taken as a right, even a duty. I really don’t know how the self-trumpeting, time-poor generation manage to cope with the hours necessary to spec a MINI. The more choice I get offered, the more convinced I am I’ll get it wrong. Whether it’s a restaurant menu or a car configurator. And with the greater number of variants offered, there’s always one that slips through the development net – “oh dear you bought the 1.4 litre with the CVT, didn’t you read about the recalls?”

    That BMW ad is very refreshing. True, nothing there for the IKEA run but, if that wasn’t an issue and providing you had the money, there’d be something there to satisfy you. Me, I’d have the 2002Tii … or maybe the 3.0Si … actually maybe the CS would be better …. no, even too much choice there.

  2. IKEA have a delivery service and rental vans…

    The platform age has brought you a host of “choice”. Take four or five ingredients, each in three variations, and by the miracle of multiplication, you get hundreds of possibilities. Whatever you choose to combine, it always matches.

    What do you mean, you want air cooling, boxer engines, live axles, centre-point steering and bright interior colours? Why not take this great, fuel-saving inline-four 1.6 litre and this nice torsion beam axle? It’s almost the same everyone else has, so it must be good. And remember, the 1.6 comes in 4 different power levels, and we offer you 50 shades of grey. Nothing left to be desired!

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