BMW Thinks 7-Series Can Reclaim Sales Crown From Mercedes S-Class

Despite the redesigned 7-Series failing to set a sales record or regain segment crown in 2016, BMW US executives still feel like the S-Class can be defeated.

“All in all, we have very happy customers, and we clearly have a target to be a leader in that segment,” said Ludwig Willisch, head of BMW Group Region Americas. “But that doesn’t happen overnight.”

Yet it’s possible it could still happen in 2017, according to Willisch, who pointed out that 7-Series sales were up by 10% in March. That said, deliveries through the first three months of 2017 declined 9.1% to 2,103 units, which still leaves the S-Class in first place, with 3,648 units sold through March.

In 2016 (BMW’s first full year of redesigned 7-Series sales), the Bavarian automaker sold 12,918 units of their flagship model, whereas Mercedes sold 18,803 S-Class models, as reported by Autonews.

As for how Mercedes feel about this 2017 dogfight against the 7-Series, a spokesman for the Stuttgart-based automaker said: “We like our chances.”

While Willisch didn’t presume to name a hard sales target for 2017, he did say that it would be great if BMW would sell nearly 13,000 7-Series models, as they did last year – this is because sales are typically highest early in a vehicle’s life cycle. Still, some people, like Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Rebecca Lindland, think that catching the S-Class will be a tough task for the 7-Series, at least this year. She says that the reason why the 7 wasn’t able to top the S in the 2016 was because “it wasn’t enough of a game changer” in terms of design.

She also criticized the amount of money BMW spent on incentives, at an average of $12,544 per 7-Series for all of 2016, and an average of $11,095 through the first three months of this year, according to Autodata. These numbers are quite similar to what Mercedes spent for the S-Class – $12,998 in 2016 and $11,467 so far in 2017.

“A useful goal is to spend the money on design, on researching consumer preferences, on recognizing market changes, and spending time with their dealers trying to understand how you’re going from incredibly high consideration to sales numbers that are not reaching what they ought to be. Trying to regain a sales title? Nobody wins in that,” added Lindland.

Of course, now that Mercedes have come out with an updated S-Class, BMW’s 7-Series could be looking at an even tougher road ahead.

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  • Status

    In the US market, the S-class has reigned supreme for almost 40 years, dethroning Cadillac and Lincoln on their home turf and at their own game (large comfortable sedans). The 7-series has no chance.

    • europeon

      S-Klasse is reigning supreme worldwide, not only in the US market,

      • Status

        I know that. This articles primary focus is the S-class’ performance in the US market. Globally, there is no question to the S-class’ dominance.

        Meanwhile, liver-spotted Lincoln fans in the US are proud of the Continental name returning, but hopelessly ignorant of the bigger picture and how outgunned they are.

        • donald seymour

          Bruh, get an account.

          • Status

            And give more marketing information to a third party to build a personalized consumer profile? Nah.

          • donald seymour

            Yeah, I agree that is annoying. BUT so what? Look, man you have been doing this for far too long, laugh out loud. I mean, I might want to respond to your comment from two weeks ago. What are you going to do then?

    • Mynameis Taylor

      I agree

  • Dennis James

    Is this a joke ? Looking like that, the 7-series stands no chance whatsoever. Looks like it already is 7 years old.

    What BMW should do is to get out of the boring limo look and adopt the sporty car look, like they have in the past. Even older men (the target for this kind of car) still have a soft spot for a nice sporty look.

  • KSegg

    MB is to S-Class as BMW is to 3-Series.

    This is like saying MB will try to out-benchmark the 3-Series with the C-Class. Not gonna happen there, and 7er trying to take over S-Class is not going to happen either.

    • Belthronding Tinuviel

      Well,good point.

  • Karl

    While attractive, the 7 series broke no new ground design wise! BMW along with Audi needs a design overhaul. Mercedes Benz current design language is miles ahead of the competition.

  • Kagan

    Bmw should stick to theire game that is or ought to be stilish and sporty sedan don’t imitate.

  • Ain’t Gonna Happen

    No way in hell.

  • fabri99

    I think it is an extremely good car, but it doesn’t have the charm and the appeal of the S-Class. It stands no chance, and it is a shame because the only flaw here is the ugly/outdated/mediocre looks and the lack of anything that will make you go “wow”. The S-Class has things you’d never imagined could be fitted into cars, that’s what I want to find when spending €100,000 on a sedan.

    • Six Thousand Times

      Whilst I’m in the clear minority, I don’t see any charm in the Benz. I prefer the lighter, more driver -focused BMW. It’s the rarer groove.

      • Kagan

        That is ok but they lack styling and maybe performance!

      • Mynameis Taylor

        The the BMW isn’t as driver focused as it used to be. The Benz definitely has more charm. You want driver focused, then it’s the Audis and Jag

      • fabri99

        Yeah but then get a Panamera… I really like both the S and the 7, but the BMW just seems to be there in the middle. Perhaps it is the best compromise, yet I wouldn’t want to compromise on such a car.

    • donald seymour

      Fab, I love your “tongue in cheek” sarcasm.

      • fabri99

        😉

  • Carenthusiast

    No chance! In the F segment, S Class is simply unbeatable….

  • Noah Feldman

    Good luck with that BMW, let me know how that works for ya. It’s The Best Or Nothing.

  • Belthronding Tinuviel

    Apart from segment and sales numbers,bmw must understand something the most important;
    when merc is launching new s class,we all know that next best car on the planet is coming.

  • John

    while BMW 7 went with the tablet desigh… Benz went back to indash design and lol @ BMW for falling for the bait.

  • Honda NSX-R

    Nope won’t happen.

  • MarketAndChurch

    Nothing can beat the S-class, unless you go upmarket with something very special, or more realistically, downmarket with something that makes financial sense. But beating the S-class isn’t the struggle that large sedans face… the more imminent challenge facing BMW, Audi, Lexus, Jaguar, etc. is simply selling half the large sedans that Mercedes sells, and doing so while selling each car for a major loss(especially in the case of BMW and Audi, who invested more engineering into their flagships than other competing brands).

  • Big Black Duck
  • PeterMcPumpkinPhD (Harvard)

    The Genesis G90 is the luxo car to beat

  • Six Thousand Times

    While I like the 7er a lot more than I like the melted Benz, even I don’t think that will happen.

  • thunder bolt

    Just another one of BMW’s day dream vs. reality.

  • Miknik

    The S-Class has a presence, and a stance of it’s own (depiste familiar Mercedes design), the 7 series just looks like a large BMW mid sized car, not special or really luxurious/expensive looking. It is a tech & gadget fest, but not more

  • Michael

    Maybe if they had made the 7 competitive enough…and not just high tech nonsense that no one cares about. You know, the things that make it a luxury limo like backseat ride quality and suppleness to compete, visual presence, an interesting interior design and more…maybe then it’ll be fit to get a little close to the big Benz. As it stands, the 7 feels like a big 3 which doesn’t sound special enough.

  • U8INIT

    Benz already told us…9 Generations 1 Crown….

  • TheBelltower

    The 7 is a gorgeous car. But it doesn’t have the red carpet appeal of the S. The design is too pragmatic. The 3, 5 and 7 series’ are almost literally the same car in different lengths. BMW is saying “You buy car… in S, M or L.” The same can be said for the C, E, and S classes, but the design of the Mercedes is much more stately.

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