An equally serious challenge is being set by new actors, such as Genesis, spun the luxury brand recently by Korea's Hyundai. Its first entry into the compact sports segment has generated huge buzz, the G70 that wins the sought after Motor Trend magazine Car of the Year award.
By hiring former BMW directors, including Albert Biermann, now his R & D boss, as well as leaders from Bentley, Bugatti, Mercedes and Lamborghini, Hyundai's luxury brand has been able to "build a legitimate 3-Series competitor, "Motor Trend declared to award G70's trophy.
The reality is that Genesis G70 sales have been marginal so far, but there is an even greater threat coming from California now, as Tesla appears to have finally solved "production hell" problems on battery and assembly plants. The all-electric model 3 has also targeted BMW's "heart and soul" and quickly leaves the 3-series in dust, at least from a sales perspective. It delivered around 1
The BMW numbers may be a little misleading, as demand usually falls before the launch of a new model. Sales for the 3-Series fell 47.9 percent year after year in November. But even using previous numbers, Model 3 would have outsold 3 series by almost 3 to 1.
It's an even bigger challenge, says analyst McElroy. "People drift away from sedans to SUVs and CUVs, so the biggest competitor can be the product on the other side of the BMW showroom."
In fact, in sharp contrast to the demand for the 3-Series, BMW's compact crossover utility vehicle, X3, posted a 77 percent annual turnover during the month, while the annual demand is 45.1 percent.
And it's not just the 3 series that have seen sales up there. BMW car sales on the hole were down 2.5 percent in the US through the end of November. The brand's crossover lineup or sports activity vehicle, which it prefers to call them – rose 10.8 percent year after year.
BMW officials claim their goal is not to make the 3 Series the best-selling compact sporting event in industry, just the one that sets the reference for performance and handling. It can not be number one, but it's the model that continues to define the brand, no matter what model you're talking about, then, coupe, wagon, sports car or sports utility vehicle.
And from the beginning to the first reviews, that's where the new 2019 BMW 3 Series really delivers.