BMW North America CEO Jim O'Donnell recently told trade publication Automotive News that he regrets having pulled the 5-Series station wagon from his U.S. lineup. BMW had theorized that its wagon buyers would flock to the 5-Series GT model, but instead wagon buyers appear to be abandoning ship and heading for Mercedes. Oops.
As a wagon aficionado, I could have given BMW this information for free. The hatchback GT model is a whale of a car. Literally, its bulbous design cannot hold a candle to the elegant 5-Series touring model sold in Europe. In my mind, Mercedes is merely a diesel engine offering away from wagon perfection and total Euro wagon dominance. The Mercedes E-Class wagon even has a rearward facing third row: That has to be the definition of Charlie Sheen’s “Winning!”
Audi might fare a bit better because its chic wagon replacement is the very desirable, at least in my book, A7 hatch. However, for many wagon buyers the sloping design of a hatch is no replacement for a dog and cargo friendly wagon.
Things have gotten to the point where some BMW dealers no longer order GT models and others simply watch as the GTs they have on hand languish on the lot. O’Donnell told Automotive News that it may be too late to bring the 5-Series wagon back for the current generation, a supposition that I strongly disagree with, but that BMW may not repeat this wagon mistake the next time around. The one bright spot is that O’Donnell strongly believes in the 3-Series wagon in the U.S., so he won’t be making the same mistake twice.