Wall Street Journal published yesterday an article on the upcoming world’s largest economic summit in Seoul this Thursday with the main topic revolving around “global rebalancing.” The idea is to change the world economy so that it relies less on American consumers and more on shoppers in China, Germany and other countries with big trade surpluses.
Hidden within the lengthy, yet informative article, is a piece of news that we find it quite intriguing:
“So, BMW is downshifting. While it makes one big sedan especially for the Chinese market, it isn’t ramping up production enough to fill all its Chinese orders. It wants to make sure it has sufficient supply for the U.S. and Germany.
The company is also counting on the U.S. to rebound more quickly than doom-and-gloomers think, making rebalancing less necessary than the leaders gathered in Seoul believe. It is even reconsidering its decision to cancel a new large SUV, which was meant mainly for U.S. buyers.”
New large SUV? Clearly, this brings us back to the rumored BMW X7. While initially present on a future roadmap, the X7 project was canned by BMW back in 2008.
The project went quickly to the deadpool mostly due to the economic changes that began to occur in late 2008, and also due to BMW’s shift towards smaller, more fuel friendly vehicles. But with China’s sales nearly doubled to 114,000 vehicles this year, BMW seems to have new plans for their third-largest market.
China is also now BMW’s largest market for its largest and most profitable sedans. Bernstein Research estimates that 50% of BMW’s operating profits come from China; BMW says that the profit number is a “lower two digit number.”
The launch of a 5 Series long wheelbase exclusively for the Chinese market has shown that the demand for large vehicles is quite significant in China. Premium automakers are reporting record sales in their larger vehicles segment and a new X-vehicle with increased proportions could make for a viable product in China.
Everything is at a rumor level at this point and we have yet to receive an indication that the BMW X7 is back on the drawing board.