Mercedes-Benz is having fantastic success with its all-new, FWD based CLA class. There are many detractors of the CLA class, claiming that it dilutes the luxury image of the brand to have such an inexpensive, FWD car. I’d argue that having cars as fabulous as the S-Class and AMG GT prevent any sort of dilution to the Mercedes brand.
But despite the many detractors, Mercedes is currently selling boatloads of CLAs. Which, in turn, sprung Audi to create the A3 sedan and is basically forcing BMW’s hand into making a 1 Series sedan. Audi won’t have an issue with diluting its image as the four-ringed brand has been making FWD based sedans for ages. But BMW, like Mercedes, has not and it begs the question — should they start now?
The funny thing about the Germans is that are always copying each other. Itself endless competition to outsell each other in all of the same segments. So much so, that car segments, worldwide, are copying what the Germans are doing. So considering the Germans’ need to beat each other at each others’ games, I’d say that yes, BMW should start now.
It’s an odd thing for BMW enthusiasts to imagine, a 1 Series sedan which powers the front wheels. But all great, new ideas take some heat at first. Eventually, though, once people actually taste the pudding, they realize how sweet it can be.
I also think a FWD 1 Series would help BMW’s brand image. Not that it’s suffering at the moment, but potentially shifting. Many publications seem to be thinking that BMW is becoming a bit too luxury oriented and losing its sporting credentials. So a small, inexpensive sports sedan could bring a youthful sporting image back to BMW.
So along with the obvious sales reasons, I think BMW has much to gain from making a FWD 1 Series sedan to combat the Mercedes-Benz CLA. A youthful brand image can bring in a bevy of new buyers who would likely start with a 1 Series and move up through the brand as they got older. So naysayers will always be exactly that, naysayers. Or as the kids like to say — Haters gonna hate.