BMW Z3 Roadster A Case Analysis
Prof. Jayasimha K.R.
Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMV) was a global automotive company, primarily into manufacturing luxury cars originated in Germany, with a significant position in the luxury/performance segment of the U.S. automotive market. In the early 90s, owing to competition from competitors such as Lexus, Acura and Infiniti, the company had repositioned its brand to more quality-oriented and had adjusted model prices in the view of new competition, improved dealer network for better customer buying experience and made some significant improvements in the product line. BMW wanted to position itself as the "best" rather than "biggest" brand in automotive manufacturing and attain a unit sales volume of near 100,000 units in the U.S.
The BMW Z3 Roadster initiative
A sudden decline in the motorcycle market was witnesses during the early 90s which sparked an internal effort to identify possible product concepts which were capable of addressing the same feelings, emotions and fantasies which were normally associated with the motorbikes. Among the possible alternatives of Race Cars, Dune Buggies, SUVs and roadsters, it was the roadster concept which was adopted because it fitted well with the positioning of a vehicle which offered driving excitement, and went well with the tradition of BMW' s brand and its heritage of roadster producer. The roadster product concept was refined over 2 years of its inception and concept tests revealed high interest across a segment of people with a mindset which was lifestyle-defined.
Launching the BMW Z3 Roadster
The launch of BMW Z3 Roadster was planned in 2 phases:
Phase 1 concentrated on the new two-seat convertible Roadster through James Bond hit movie "Golden Eye" which was a kind of cross-promotion with the main aim of creating a word-of-mouth publicity.
Phase 2 was to be undertaken with the main objective of the redesigned 5-Series and to promote company's role as the "official international automotive sponsor" of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics
As BMW was establishing a manufacturing plant in Spartanburg in South Carolina, U.S., it wanted to be consistent with its image as an elite luxury-quality manufacturer which was generally associated with the perception "Made in Germany". It wanted to depict that even though the manufacturing will happen in the U.S., it would be "Made by BMW". The objectives of the launch were two-fold:
1. To use Roadster to motivate and stimulate the dealer network to meet high standards to qualify for the Roadster
2. To build an order bank to enable the new Spartanburg plant to build to the specifications of the BMW customers
Product Initiative Analysis
Roadster was launched with the following two objectives:
1. To use the Roadster to motivate and stimulate the dealer network to meet higher standards to qualify for the Roadster.
2. To build an order bank to enable the new Spartanburg plant to build to the specifications of BMW customers.
To sustain the image of the company that provides world market with luxury/performance vehicles that are best in its class and to respond to the decline of the worldwide motorcycle market in 1992, they were trying to identify a concept that can address the same feelings, emotions and fantasies that motorcycle has satisfied. Among the several alternative concepts developed: race cars, dune buggies, SUVs, roadster; Roadster was the best fit that captured the essence of BMW brand and in line with the overall BMW positioning of driving excitement. As it targeted niche market, it was in line with the corporate goal of being “the best rather than biggest”. Other luxury car manufacturers like Porsche, Mercedes were also to similar concept development, so to take first mover advantage BMW wanted to launch the roadster in short time.
Product roadster concept was refined to a two-seater convertible Z3 with 1.9...