And this could explain why it joined forces with Toyota for that upcoming Z4 replacement.
The car buying public's taste changes every few years or so, but there's one specific segment that BMW claims is doing particularly badly. That would be sports cars. "The sports car market is roughly half of what it used to be," stated BMW's head of sales, Ian Robertson. "Post-2008, it just collapsed. I'm not so sure it'll ever fully recover." Basically, in both the US and Europe, the car's so-called role as a status symbol has diminished, replaced by SUVs and crossovers.
And two-seaters specifically built for speed and performance, and carrying large price tags, are the biggest casualties. Perhaps this is the reason why BMW opted to join forces with Toyota for its planned Z4 replacement. Sharing the development costs with someone else makes sense these days. The bottom line here is that the Great Recession sent two-seater sports car demand to its lowest level in two decades. For example, combined sales of the Audi TT, BMW Z4, and the Mercedes SLK peaked at 114,000 units in 2007. Those sales went down by 45 percent by 2010. Heck, even sales in China aren't doing anything to help.
One industry analyst offered this assessment: "Young, urban upwardly mobile professionals are now able to buy a much wider range of lifestyle vehicles other than sports cars." Lets hope this trend will eventually reverse, otherwise, well, let's not go there.