BMW is the Ultimate Driving Machine
My favorite example of differentiated market positioning in a very crowded market is BMW’s “Ultimate Driving Machine” slogan. It’s not just a marketing message, you know it’s true when you sit inside a BMW and turn on the engine. Among other things, you’ll notice that:
- The center console is aimed towards you, the driver
- The window controls are next to your stick so it’s easier for your right hand*
- … and obviously the remarkable driving experience
Ten years ago I had a BMW loaner for a week, to use for a project I was working on at Stanford. I fell in love and bought my own a few months later. It had nothing to do with the features. Driving it was an experience unlike any other.
The window controls on the center console has always been one of my favorite design elements. It just makes sense. When I’m driving, my left hand is on the wheel and my right hand it on the stick. Accelerating on a freeway onramp, I can shift and put my windows up in one motion.
I’m sad that newer BMWs didn’t keep this design, but I’m guessing it’s because fewer and fewer people are buying traditional manual cars. Sad.