BMW’s new 4 Series to replace 3 Series Coupe and Cabriolet image

BMW is renaming the next-generation 3 Series Coupe and Cabriolet the 4 Series to bring an aura of exclusivity and justify higher prices on these sporty, high-volume models.

The BMW 4 Series Coupe is expected to launch in mid-2013, followed by the 4 Series convertible in the autumn, the German carmaker announced today. BMW released photos of the Concept 4 Series Coupe today, but did not offer further details on production and pricing. The Concept 4 Series Coupe will have its world premiere at the Detroit auto show in January.

BMW’s 3 Series lineup is essential in the carmaker’s portfolio and profits. The 3 Series coupe and convertible each accounted for 15 percent (about 14,000 units each) of the 3 Series’ U.S. sales of 94,371 in 2011. Through November, U.S. sales of the 3 Series have risen 4 percent, to 88,857. Peak sales of the 3 Series were 142,490 in 2007.

BMW follows in the footsteps of Audi, which positions the A5 coupe and convertible above the A4 sedan upon which they are based. Audi uses the same strategy with the A7, which is marketed above the A6. Needless to say, the A5 and A7 are more expensive than the A4 and A6.

On the other hand, Mercedes-Benz is adopting the inverse strategy by rebadging its coupes and convertibles to become part of the sedan family as they are redesigned.

Source: Automotive News