I have done a lot of reading on this subject as nearly all of my mates are sending a string of abusive messages asking me to cut their hair and calling me a woman! Anyway, I found an interesting article for anyone who hasnt yet read up!
Also found the most interesting part was
- Interesting stat eh!"On the average, Z3 buyers are 70 percent male - slightly higher than the 67 percent male average for the roadster segment and higher than the 65 percent male average for BMW overall, she said"
Article in this week's Automotive News about Z4
I thought the board might be interested in this:
BMW touts Z4's testosterone
Female manager's goal is to make car appeal to men
By Jim Henry
Automotive News / November 11, 2002
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- BMW is promoting the Z4 as a more macho successor to the Z3, which the company candidly admits was too much of a "chick car" for the male-dominated roadster market.
"Towards the end (of the Z3's product cycle), we had the stigma of being a 'girlie car,' or a 'chick car,' which in Europe is sometimes called a 'hairdresser's' car," said Hennie Chung Z4 manager for BMW of North America LLC in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. "You will notice a more male overtone" for the Z4, in both the product and its marketing, she said at a press introduction here.
For instance, BMW features the Z4 in a five-minute action film, Hostage, the newest installment in its Internet movie series known collectively as The Hire. Every episode essentially is a five-minute chase scene with lots of shooting, cars flying through the air and hardly any dialogue.In the movie, the Z4-driving hero, sporting a four-day stubble, outraces the police to save a woman locked in the trunk of a car, just as it sinks underwater.
BMW officials said the Z3 did not have a male-ego problem when it was introduced in 1996 with a heavily promoted cameo role in a James Bond movie. At the time, the Z3's only competitor was the Mazda Miata, which debuted in 1989, not counting the much more expensive Mercedes SL.
But when the Porsche Boxster and the Mercedes SLK joined the roadster segment in 1997, they kicked some sand in the Z3's face, even though the Z3 continued to outsell the more expensive Boxster and SLK.
BMW added the M Coupe, based on the Z3, in September 1998. Chief designer Chris Bangle liked to say the only competitor to the M Coupe was "a bottle of Viagra." In retrospect, maybe the Z3's image needed a boost.
Woman leading the charge
It's a bit of an irony that Chung, a 32-year-old woman, is helping lead the team promoting the Z4's macho image. The irony does not bother her.
"Men will not buy what is said to be a pink car, but women will buy a car with a masculine image," she said. Her role includes helping decide which features and options come to the United States.
The U.S. market gets two versions of the Z4, both with inline six-cylinder engines. The Z4 roadster 2.5i with a 2.5-liter, 184-hp engine and a five-speed manual, has a base price of $33,795. The Z4 roadster 3.0i with a 3-liter, 225-hp engine starts at $40,945. Prices include destination. "The Z4 is more masculine, more athletic," than the Z3, Chung said. "It's not so much that our buyers are male or female; it's more of an attitude."
On the average, Z3 buyers are 70 percent male - slightly higher than the 67 percent male average for the roadster segment and higher than the 65 percent male average for BMW overall, she said.
Nevertheless, to project a more masculine image for the Z4, "Media buys will be skewed in a certain way," Chung said. She said it was too early to provide examples, other than The Hire. BMW will hold back some of its Z4 advertising push for next spring, when the weather is better for roadsters, Chung said.
The Z3's U.S. sales peaked in 1998 at 20,613, with nearly identical sales in 1999 at 20,062. In its run-out this year, Z3 sales were down 48.2 percent to 6,462 through the first 10 months of 2002. The U.S. company sold 734 Z4s in October. At full production, BMW expects Z4 sales next year roughly to equal Z3 sales at their height.
"The segment needs some freshening; it needs some new emotion," said Ed Robinson, executive vice president for operations for BMW North America. "This is the perfect time to introduce a new roadster."