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BMW Responsibility Revolution

BMWBMW recently held a “One-Day University” program at its home base in New Jersey, intended, according to our hosts, “to begin a discussion” about the role of high-end automakers in the future of personal transportation. The six-session curriculum covered a range of hairy topics, not the least of which was the evident movement of well-heeled Americans away from conspicuous consumption to more restrained, reward-based purchasing habits.

The hour I found most interesting was entitled “What Consumers are Learning from the Recession and Consequences for Premium Products” (which I’m sure could be combined into one word in German), presented by Madelyn Hochstein, owner and president of the research firm DYG, Inc. Citing numerous social and consumer trend studies, Hochstein suggested that people are starting to take ownership of their circumstances (however bleak those may be), that they’re starting to cut back on superfluous financial expenditures, and that more and more rich people see themselves as - get this - “humble.” Also in the research was an alleged shift in the standard of success from “excess” to “ethics.” In other words, according to Hochstein, there is a “responsibility revolution” trending away from seeking “a life of riches” to “a richer life.”

So how might this responsibility revolution change the Ultimate Driving Machine? It’s tough to say definitively, since BMW people were not giving the seminar (they were actually among us in the audience). All I can infer is that we’ll see a whole lot more of this Efficient Dynamics stuff from the BMW brand, that Mini will keep kicking ass, and that the new $250K Rolls-Royce Ghost will far outsell the big, “phat” Phantom.

Also interesting to me, however, was a subtle yet significant semantic distinction in the way BMW presented itself throughout the day as a premium brand, not a luxury brand - the latter arguably how most people outside the roundel would label it at this juncture. This may not have been the first time BMW has characterized itself thusly, but it was the first time I noticed.

Hmm. Could it be that BMW will start dialing back the decadence in its cars? Unlikely. Will it start charging less for them? Almost certainly not. But is BMW going through an examination of its corporate conscience? Definitely. And however unlikely it is that BMW will adjust its oh-so-premium pricing structure to reflect recessionary income levels, I fully expect that we will start seeing more value for the dollar not necessarily in the form of more cush and gee-gaws, but in terms of useful and environmentally beneficial technologies such as more-user-friendly interiors, emissions-lowering features (like stop-start systems), and the development of traffic-mitigation systems aimed at programming green-light “streams” to reduce urban congestion so as to save both time and fuel. These are the parts of car ownership that can make people feel good inside, not just on the outside, and align BMW perfectly with this responsibility revolution.

And as for the pleasure of driving, well, it is my hope (and my expectation) that BMW will not be changing its slogan any time soon.

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BMW Responsibility Revolution
BMW Responsibility Revolution

Category BMW Auto Insurance for Car Models

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BMW Auto Insurance for Car Models

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