7 Series and X7 stand out from BMW's mainstream models because that's what their buyers want

Debate over BMW’s ‘over-sized’ grille design should be focused on the BMW 7 Series alone, according to the group’s design director Adrian van Hooydonk.

Discussions regarding BMW’s controversial grille designs ramped up this year with the launch of the facelifted 7 Series, and grew louder with the reveal of the BMW X7. However, van Hooydonk believes the criticism - led by UK commentators according to BMW’s monitoring - has now incorrectly put a focus on BMW grille designs as a whole.

“I don’t think it should be a BMW brand discussion at all, but rather one of the 7 Series alone,” said van Hooydonk. “All of our other cars are world cars, where the various tastes of the market tastes converge with no discrepancies, but the 7 Series sits separately.

“In Europe - the smallest market - the buyers are understated, but in the US and China - where most 7 Series are sold - they are younger and more extrovert. When we launched the new 7 Series [in 2015] it was criticised for not looking different enough, so the message for the facelift was clear: make it stand out. And now we have.”

However, van Hooydonk predicted that the separation in global tastes would not last long, pointing to feedback that he is increasingly receiving from BMW’s Shanghai design centre. “I hear from them that design tastes in China are developing rapidly,” he said. “Yes, they still want a modern look that pushes boundaries, but they are increasingly calling for subtle too. The gap is narrowing down, so I see the 7 Series design coming together with the rest of the range in a short time.”

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Asked about the X7’s grille design van Hooydonk argued that it was in proportion to the car and smaller than those found on rival brands, including Range Rover, the Audi Q7 and Mercedes GLS. “Yes, the X7’s grille is bigger than other BMW’s - but so is the X7 bigger than any BMW before it. That one is in proportion.

“Don’t worry, I don’t want the brand to turn into an oversized kidney grille brand - but I believe we understand the reasons for what we have done with the 7 Series and that the issue will solve itself thanks to evolving tastes in the markets for which the grille was introduced.”

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Comments
16

27 June 2019

 This grille thing, BMW isn’t the only one with a bigger grille on there cars, Audi, Mercedes just to name two are putting big cheesy grins on the new cars not just BMW, it seems unfair to pick on or use BMW as the example.

289

27 June 2019

Yes, but BMW didnt have big gaping mouth grilles, it was less 'in your face', unike other brands.

By stating that 'their customers' meaning the Chinese....want this feature, they are basically giving a two finger salute to European customers, who I feel sure will reciprocate. It looks a bloody mess, and they are pandering to a shrinking Chinese market. Risky business model.

I still dont see what the difficulty is in having differing frontal treatment for Asian and European markets....reduced bling all round for Europe if they still want a European market that is!

27 June 2019
289 wrote:

Yes, but BMW didnt have big gaping mouth grilles, it was less 'in your face', unike other brands.

By stating that 'their customers' meaning the Chinese....want this feature, they are basically giving a two finger salute to European customers, who I feel sure will reciprocate. It looks a bloody mess, and they are pandering to a shrinking Chinese market. Risky business model.

I still dont see what the difficulty is in having differing frontal treatment for Asian and European markets....reduced bling all round for Europe if they still want a European market that is!

reciprocate? 70% of 7 series and most likely the X7 as well goes to Asia and US, then there is Middle East market. Europe does not buy these cars. What reciprocate?

27 June 2019

My favourite comment ".......it was criticised for not looking different enough, so the message for the facelift was clear: make it stand out. And now we have.” sticking pepper pig on the bonnet would also have made it stand out, still wouldn't look right though!!!

289

27 June 2019

....Peppa Pig - Haha - priceless.

You are right though xxxx !

27 June 2019

Hmm sounds like BMW have not received good feedback and have started to back track

27 June 2019

BMW 30 odd years ago didn’t design cars by customer committees. That’s why they had design integrity. 

 

Theyve lost sole of that integrity now, because they pander to market tastes. You could say that’s sensible, making a product a customer wants to buy. But in the long term I don’t think that’s the case. People respect integrity especially from a big historic brand. 

27 June 2019
rare wrote:

BMW 30 odd years ago didn’t design cars by customer committees. That’s why they had design integrity. 

 

Theyve lost sole of that integrity now, because they pander to market tastes. You could say that’s sensible, making a product a customer wants to buy. But in the long term I don’t think that’s the case. People respect integrity especially from a big historic brand. 

markets changed, wealth moved, and it is all about Benjamins. They were pandering to European clients then and Asian clients now, and they should if they want to survive at the size they are at now, which, by the way, means thousands of pretty well paid jobs. I think BMW design language is bollocks these days but they know what they are doing and why.

27 June 2019

There's a lot of coded words here that I suspect the PR team rehearsed before the interview. That Chinese buyers want to have something different now bit are moving to subtlety is one. The other is "don't worry" it will solve itself with evolving tastes. The inference being that the large Chinese market will, like the more traditional UK one, is looking for something more tasteful.

It sounds like a facelift is coming....

I noticed that yesterday's Puma featured separate headlights in a front that isn't merged into one. Aside from the usual SUV-haters here, it seemed to be well-liked and so I wonder if there's a trend here to front end design that doesn't fuse lights into grille with gulping gills below in the bumper?

27 June 2019

It’s not just the grille, Adrian!

In so many areas BMW design is falling well short. That stupid oversize grille is a symptom of much bigger problems. The new 3 series really is poor, especially the Touring version.

BMW had some of the strongest design DNA in the business and they’ve trashed it.

 

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