Diluting your brand

I drive on Ogden Ave West of Chicago every single day.  If you've never been there are some good restaurants and TONS of car dealers.  I remember being young asking my parents to drive down that street just so I could see all the dealers.  Now that I drive on it every day, and I'm in the market for a new car, I pay more attention to what I see there.  And what I've discovered is that Auto Manufactures are diluting their brands and I don't understand it.  I get that Chevy and Ford are going to put out a ton of stuff and see what sticks.  But Porsche and BMW?!  There are others (Bentley for example) that are also doing it, but what I've been seeing everywhere are the Porsche Panamera, that weird 4 door thing they put out.  The Porsche Cayenne, the SUV crossover deal.  And the BMW 1 series, I don't even know how humans fit in something smaller than the 3 series.

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Let's start with Porsche.  They put out a line of beautiful sports cars that are extremely fast and handle insane (or so I hear).  They're up at the top of the luxury line of sports cars and the things that people dream about.  Then someone at the top thinks, "We've been catering to all these performance loving people, let's add some new customers."  "How about suburban moms?"  Who in their right mind says that and then decides it's a good plan.  Take a look at the people driving these cars.  The Cayenne is a solid looking car, but who needs a Porsche SUV.  But the Panamera looks like something West Coast Customs chopped together.  It's one of the ugliest cars I'e seen in a long time, but you can't hook a parent on a car with only two doors.

BMW, oh BMW.  I'll spare all the background and just ask why?  Why do you need to produce the 128i?  Are you really helping your business by putting out more cars?  Is someone that goes into a BMW dealer really going to be thrown off by the price and need a more affordable option.  Come on!  You charge $40 for your specially formulated windshield washer fluid.  What does a clown car sized BMW bring to the market?

All these companies are doing is being short sighted.  They're looking at the now and not the legacy of their brand.  We don't need a family sized Porsche.  And we definitely don't need another 13th model line from BWM.  These companies need to look at what will build them over the long term and keep them true to what they've been.  Maybe Porsche has decided they don't want to be in the performance car devision anymore and they want to be the next grocery getter.  And maybe BMW thinks their customers would benefit from seeing their new line in the 3 ring circus with a bunch of painted faces jumping out of it.  For me, I hope that they realize it's about what they've built their brand to be and less about making the quick buck.