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Rumor: BMW new front-wheel-drive family of cars to be sold in the United States

Featured Posts, Rumors | October 4th, 2010 by 24

According to a report published by Automotive News, BMW’s new front-wheel-drive family of cars will be sold in the United States. Quoting sources within the …

According to a report published by Automotive News, BMW’s new front-wheel-drive family of cars will be sold in the United States. Quoting sources within the company, AutoNews reports that BMW is convinced luxury buyers are ready embrace vehicles positioned below the 1 Series Coupe sold currently in the US.

Furthermore, the report says that the new class is being called UKL, an abbreviation for lower compact class cars sold in Germany. In our opinion, this is just an internal code and the production vehicles will be carrying a different label.

In an interview with the aforementioned publication, Ian Roberton, head of sales and marketing at BMW, said that the new class “will be a relatively big segment because we have several body styles”.

Without disclosing the bodystyles, Robertson confirmed that the US-bound vehicles will be powered by a four-cylinder engine. The new BMW family of small cars is expected to be launched before 2013.

bmw-fwd-representation-655x481Robertson expects significant volume from the small car lineup, with sales of 100,000 vehicles worldwide a year. Bringing the MINI brand and its FWD to focus, Robertson said for AutoNews that “No one has said to me the Mini isn’t great to drive”.

The following question remains: are the US customers ready for a front-wheel drive BMW?

[Source: AutoNews ]

  • Tom

    That’s BS! BMW will probably make it a hatchback, too. And when sales are slow, they will blame BMW for a supposed dislike of hatchbacks and wagons.

    • FreudeKing

      Absolutely, they always have excuses. And to reply to Ian Robertson’s Mini statement – I want him to tell me in his opinion whether Mini is a better car to drive than BMW. If he says yes, then BMW would have to take back all their FWD statements previously made about Audi and admit that FWD can also be as good as RWD (which we all know is not true), so there is less of an incentive to buy a BMW over an Audi then.

      If not, then the only possible reason is to make more money from the customers in the short term by destroying the BMW brand.

  • Greg

    “Are the US customers ready for a front-wheel drive BMW?” Most won’t even notice. or care. Only enthusiasts will :-(

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

      Greg, that’s exactly what I was going for…

    • http://www.calebcunningham.com CalebC

      It’s sad to say, but I think you’re right. I also think I’ve posted before with regard to my fear that loosing the enthusist market could affect the brand perception though, so I won’t go into it again here.

      • FreudeKing

        They must not forget why BMW is such a great brand today and FWD is definitely not the reason. It is irrelevant whether a faction of the people know or not know whether their cars are FWD or not. It is whether BMW as a company is giving its customers the best and what it has believed in for decades. To throw all that away for short term profits and long term damage to the brand is sad.

        • FreudeKing

          Just to add, it is not what customers know, it is whether the customers trust you to give them the best even when they do not know what are the components needed to make the best. Is this not what BMW has built over the past few decades????

          All this is now out the window as new management embark on profit hunting and milking all they can from customers.

  • http://bmwcollin.com Collin

    Isn’t this going to slowly start to dillute the Ultimate Driving Machine for those of us who love the driving erxperience of the rear-wheel drive platform?

    • Lariv

      In a word, yes.

    • BIMMER1

      Slowly start diluting? You mean continue the pattern from the past 4-6 years. Almost every new model since 2004 has been built with a much broader client base in mind. The reason, if they sell more cars make more money. I don’t know what persuaded the big wigs at BMW to make such drastic decisions that would impact their true brand identity so much, but I sure do have a sense of being let down like most of you do. I have a 95 M3 and a 2010 135i, I can tell you right now that the e36 will still be around long after the 135 heads to the recycling bin. It still feels as solid as the day it was built. Although the 135 feels solid, it is obviousl the materials are not meant to last more than a decade. The 95 M3 will outhandle the 135 anyday, even with 15 years of engineering advancements separating them. That is really sad. I even have the “M-sport” package on my 135 and all it consists of is a special color, ///M trim, different wheels (although they are the same dimensions and offer no performance advantage), and no more engine power or stiffer suspension than a regular 135. What is the point of that, and why would you push the ///M pedigree on a model that doesn’t have any better performance than the regular one. Back in the day an M-sport package would have meant you got better performance, not just appearence mods. Now it means nothing.

      BMW may say they are making all these useless models (5GT/X6) to use the profits to make thier other “performance” cars better, but in reality they want to make them more marketable to the masses, which means reducing performance to appease the wussies of the world. In the process they are pushing away the BMW faithful’s and replacing them with a bunch of flakes who buy cars as status symbols instead of for their performance. The niche models sell in such low volumes they won’t do squat for profits anyways. It’s not at all like what Porsche did with the Cayenne, as the Cayenne makes up for over 60-70% of their sales and profits. That allowed them to make the best 911 ever built. Ask any true BMW enthusiast what the best BMW in history was and none of them will tell you it’s something built post 2005. NONE of them.

      You would think that after 4 decades of selling cars in the states, BMW would recognize what made them successful and stick with it. Instead they are falling for the same load of crap that got Toyota in so much trouble. I expect much more from BMW, and hope to god that the past few years will not dictate a very bland and unexciting future from them…ie Lexus.

      • FreudeKing

        The reason is simple, we have new management trying to please shareholders more than the previous group, so they concentrate on $$$. Not only that, they concentrate on $$$ during the time that they will be there and couldn’t care less about the damaged brand after they have left as clearly they would hae had their bonuses paid out to them already.

      • JakeM

        “In the process they are pushing away the BMW faithful’s and replacing them with a bunch of flakes who buy cars as status symbols instead of for their performance”

        Hmmm, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but the real enthusiasts who buy BMWs for performance reasons is VERY SMALL. Most people who buy BMWs do so for STATUS REASONS, not performance.

        • Woo Hoo

          Jake, you are spot on. The majority of BMW owners don’t frequent these boards. They may make the cursory check just to see what ‘the next big thing is’ .

          • viper

            Guys, hate to break it to you. But BMW is a middle of the road car company. In terms of luxury, they are outdone elsewhere, in terms of sports performance, they are outdone elsewhere.

            People need to stop making BMW out to be something that it’s not.

            They make good cars, that handle well and have solid build quality. They have some models with larger engines to satisfy the guys who want a sportier daily driver, or badge to play king of the road with.

            If you’re into thoroughbred sports cars, you migrate to Porsche. But don’t spend your time pretending that somehow BMWs pure sports pedigree is what made them successful. It is a number of factors that contributed to BMWs success, and one of them is NOT listening to the complaints of so-called purists with their heads in the clouds.

  • Kram

    I totally agree, some will not care, notice or even be aware of the new front wheel drive BMWs. I think BMW’s strategy is one that has observed Audi and it’s recent success over the last 10 years selling front wheel drive cars as opposed to the enthusiast line of Quattros (I’m assuming Audi sells more FWD than Quattros especially with the A4; unable to find Audi sales breakdown of FWD vs. Quattro). But that design alone can get a car company sales, not necessarily what’s underneath the hood.

    • FreudeKing

      Absolutely, the reason for Audi’s success is the incredible increase in the Audi brand value by the public. This is due to the brand’s car designs, interior and exterior as well as successfully marketing cars like the R8, which signifies the brand’s sportiness (which is what BMW used to represent). Audi’s success is not because of customers falling in love with their clearly inferior FWD systems.

      BMW’s downfall is due to the drastic cost cutting strategy, cutting cost and employees left right and centre, breeding wierd cars in between every single line to try and capture insignificant sales without proper development cost as it will just be based on some other model (yes, insignificant!), cutting important advertising and the lack of advertising on the core values of the brand (what made BMW successful is not ED, it is the sporty driving dynamics and good performance). Now management, knowing that it will hurt the brand says that BMW is strong enough to take the knock of FWD!.

      Ask any youth and they will gladly put up a poster of the Audi R8 on their bedroom wall. But putting up a 5GT poster would be so uncool!

      If I am the CEO from tomorrow, The first thing I would do is to tell the entire board to forget about launcing FWD as a BMW as I would rather take a knock on my bonus in the short term than to see such an exclusive brand being diluted. Then I would fire Adrian VH and change the entire design process of new BMWs as clearly in my view, having attractive BMWs is much more important than allowing one designer to have a car in the final stage as close to his sketch as possible. A sports car to rival the R8 is also important and I will make sure that it features in all movies possible with extensive advertising.

      Afterall the above would be for the long term benefit of The BMW Group, not some FWD BMW, haing the 5, 6, 7, 5GT based onthe same platform, hence poor driving dynamics for all. People managing BMW in such a way should rather go and manage VW! Clearly they don’t know what a premium brand is about.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000325894622 Hubert Jadczak

    DON’T DO THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Wooo hoo.

    BMW is downmarketing their product IOT make them more affordable to those that CAN’T.

    I’m sorry to see BMW going for the quick buck. I’m also going to be sorry to see the roundel in trailer parks next to those ‘bitchin’ camaros owned by Joe Dirt.

  • bunker

    *fail*

  • Doug

    Lower than the 1? What’s the point of that? Use another brand to explore that segment.

    Clearly bmw wants to capitalize on what the brand achieved in previous years, while at the same time undermine its differentiation with dumb stuff like fwd and numb steering systems. Not to mention subcompacts (apparently).

  • e46

    VW vs UKL….I like the idea a lot!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000477069969 Hugo Becker

      Maybe they left an ‘r’ out of UKL, it outta be UrKL – and then the Isetta makes sense. ;-)

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  • Julien

    NOOOOOOOOO BMWW!!!!!!!! STOP!!!!
    I LOVE MY RWD E90!!!!!!

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