BMWs 'not good value', say US buyers

Barry Park April 09, 2012

BMW to bring more frugal models to Australia

Luxury brand loyalty study discovers what drives the big-name buying decision.

BMW owners reckon they don’t get good value for money, the latest research from US car industry forecasting group R.L. Polk has found.

Analysing what buyers saw in luxury brands, Polk has discovered that while BMW owners get a sense that they are buying into high prestige and performance when they stretch to the Munich-based brand, they also believed they were getting ‘‘less value for the money than other brands’’.

Mercedes-Benz is perceived in the US as the most luxurious brand to own, although it has its own set of problems, with buyers believing the brand is weaker on fuel economy and value than other luxury makes.

Audi, meanwhile, is attracting buyers with its strong results on saving fuel, however it is sullied by the perception that its luxury car line-up takes a larger hit on resale values.

Lexus, on the other hand, is recognised as having strong resale value, meaning owners will get more of their money back when it comes to selling or trading in a vehicle, but buyers see the range as lacking in the performance department.

The study also revealed that other distinct differences do exist between how luxury car owners view their brands, particularly in terms of loyalty.

Factors driving loyalty for Audi customers are style and design, while for BMW customers it is the performance side of the ledger.

Lexus owners keep coming back because of the experience they get at the dealership, Polk says, while Benz owners indulge in ‘‘quality, reliability and brand affinity’’.

The biggest reason for switching brands is the idea that buyers who defect are getting better value for money than with their previous luxury car, Polk says. In contrast, resale value and fuel economy are very low on the defecting buyers’ radar.

In the US, Mercedes-Benz is recognised as having the largest loyalty, with 57.3 per cent of buyers sticking with the brand last year, the data shows.

BMW was not far behind at 52.3 per cent loyalty, while Lexus and Audi both dip below the luxury car industry average with 46.6 and 42.2 per cent loyalty each.

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