Every now and then, BMW enjoys toying around with the idea of a pickup. It secretly built an M3 E30 truck in 1986 and revisited the idea in 2011 with the M3 E92. More recently, the X7 became a one-off workhorse in 2019. However, head over to your local dealer and you’re not going to find what Australians refer to as a ute.

BMWBLOG chatted with Bernd Körber, Senior Vice President of BMW Brand and Product Management, Connected Company, about the prospects of a pickup. We learned it’s still not on the agenda because it doesn’t fit with the marque’s ethos: “I think a pickup truck is beyond the brand. In principle, I would say for a brand like BMW to differentiate, to make cars that are dream cars that really bring out the essence of BMW, we need niche models.”

That’s not to say BMW is against catering to people in need of a more rugged vehicle. Körber recognized the rise in popularity of tough SUVs like Defenders and Land Cruisers. On the electric side, we have newcomers such as the Rivian R1S and the just-released Mercedes G580 with EQ Technology. “Rugged is an interesting trend because it has moved from the US, South Africa, and Australia phenomenon into a global phenomenon.”

However, BMW doesn’t want to be a copycat by simply embracing the “me too” strategy. Should the Munich-based automaker decide to hop on the rugged SUV bandwagon, it needs something authentic that also fits with the brand’s image. A final decision has yet to be made but a rugged vehicle for outdoorsy people might be an interesting prospect.  It would make sense to give hot-selling products such as the X3 and X5 the off-road treatment. It’ll likely be too much of an effort to create a separate SUV for only a niche segment. A derivative of an existing model makes more sense from a business perspective. It’s faster and cheaper to bring to the market.

In the meantime, you can get a go-anywhere SUV or pickup truck with a BMW engine. The Ineos Grenadier and Grenadier Quartermaster are powered by B57 and B58 inline-six engines. These 3.0-liter gasoline and diesel mills work with a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission–as seen in many current products from Bavaria.