When BMW declared that their “affordable” 1 Series M coupe would be a limited production model, we immediately knew that dealers would price gouge on any inventory that hit their showrooms. It’s the first law of capitalism: when a product has a limited supply and high demand, prices go up. I’m fine with that within reason, but sometimes dealerships take things to extremes. One southern California BMW dealer has a new 1 Series M on their showroom floor, and they’d be happy to sell it to you for the low, low price of just $94,635.
That’s $40,000 over the car’s already high $54,635 asking price, which puts it firmly into bend over, grab your ankles and prepare to squeal like a pig territory. Ten grand over sticker is greedy, but four times that is obscene. Worse, there are probably buyers in SoCal willing to step up to the plate and spend that kind of money on it, just to be the first with a 1 Series M in their garage. Sure, the car is likely to appreciate over time, but you’d have to sit on a zero mile example well into the next century before it yielded that kind of return.
The message from the dealership is clear: we don’t actually want to sell the car, but if someone is stupid enough to pay us $40k over what BMW says we should charge for it, we’ll be happy to part said fool from his money. In a perfect world, BMW would yank the dealer’s franchise schnell, but we all know that isn’t likely to happen. The sad part is that other dealers are likely to gouge nearly as badly for these “collector’s” cars, which makes the 1 Series M an epic fail on the part of BMW. What good is a performance car that your target audience can’t possibly afford? What’s the sense in pricing a driver’s car so high that only rich collectors, worried more about image than lap times, can afford it?
I’ll give this advice to BMW, free of charge: if you want to bring young buyers into showrooms, affordable cars start in the mid-$20k range, not double or triple that.