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BMWNA CEO: “We will be expanding into new niches”

Interesting | July 5th, 2011 by 9
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In a recent interview with Automotive News, BMW of North America CEO, Jim O’Donnell, offered more insight into the brand’s future plans and upcoming cars. …

In a recent interview with Automotive News, BMW of North America CEO, Jim O’Donnell, offered more insight into the brand’s future plans and upcoming cars. In the extensive and detailed interview, O’Donnell touched on some of the “hot” topics for the brand: future front-wheel drive vehicles, four-cylinder 3 Series and more 1 Series variants coming to the US.

Here are some of the key points extracted from the interview.

You’re talking further out with the small cars?

Yes, the 2014 and 2015 period with the front-drive cars. But what I do see happening is that the premium segment will expand. At the New York auto show, Mercedes-Benz was showing the A class. We will be expanding into new niches. The consumer will be spoiled for choice.

BMWNA CEO: We will be expanding into new nichesAre engine choices changing because of the cost of fuel?

Not substantially. Diesel has changed it slightly. We have added the six-cylinder 740i sedan, and a four-cylinder engine is coming for the Z4, and I am looking at bringing the four-cylinder into the 3 series.

All your competitors target the 3 series. How do you keep the momentum going?

Each generation has been slightly bigger and slightly better and better equipped and has more safety features, etc. We keep setting a new benchmark, and the others follow.

Is demand increasing for the small 1 series — and can you get more?

We are not bringing in any more 1 series. We do not like to push that car. We like to leave it as a pull. It is built at the same plants as the 3 series, and we’d rather have more 3 series. There is more demand for the 3 series at the moment.

BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer recently said BMW Group plans to sell 1.5 million cars worldwide this year, up from 1.46 million in 2010. How does the United States fit into that equation?

We are a big part of it. We will grow this year between 10 to 15 percent, depending where the market ends up. We are obviously vying with Germany to be the No. 1 country. We’re definitely No. 1 if you include Mini.

Full interview at AutoNews

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  • T.

    The first part of this decade is concentrating on the core replacement models but investigating new niches  and segments within 3 core segments.  UKL/MINI , Premium Compact and Premium Entry. which is why the focus is on these particular models arriving before 2015.

    After 2015 BMW will explore new niches for the luxury segment including the return of recession-caused cancellations to increase BMW’s presence in the luxury segment especially in markets such as China where high-end luxury vehicles are projected to be at 1Million units.

    BMW will also make greater use of the sub-brands it holds BMWi and BMW M. With all focus on BMWi first.
    Once BMW get their CFRP strategy running at full volume it will increase the odds for shared technology with the M division. As of now the elements of the M3 CRT are what is possible  within a specific cost region. But the progression commences to make it more cost effective and one day we will see a full bodied  stand alone M project using CFRP in the future.  

    Next year BMW will expand on the M3 CRT this time with the finale of the Coupe which will use the name “CSL”
    Again it will be the next stage in progress and expand on M3 CRT , expect a signifcant weight reduction thanks to the additional CFRP body panels/features being added in conjunction with the standard CFRP roof.
    The BMW X6M will also be offered in Carbon Racing Technology and again will be very expansive and more powerful. Although technically X6M is a Coupe , allbeit a Sport Activity Coupe? CSL could be configured but nothing is final.   

    Given that BMW X5M and BMW X6M sell in a region that to M standards they are “high volume” models.
    BMW have also now given the go-ahead for a BMW X3M and a BMW X1M – Sales of both vehicles are exceptional and so is demand with some markets on high waiting lists for both models.  Demand for both is outstripping the supply.  BMW are on target to deliver the 200,000 unit of X1 and are closing in on the 1 millionth unit of the X3 series – both E83 and F25.

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

      My sources say no X3M plans.

      • T.

        The BMW board assessed one this week.   It is coming.

  • DedeSF

    If the 1-series must remain a “pull,” please allow me to “pull” the F20 hatch to the US.

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