Aussie BMW Dealers Want A Pickup In The LIneup
5 March 2018 - motor1
The showrooms seem a little jealous of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class and want their own version.
The chances of BMW adding a pickup to its range – at least in some markets – are looking better than ever. The company's execs Australia appear to be most desperate to sell a truck (or utes as folks call them Down Under).
"We have been very pushy regarding utes or pick-ups, and we believe that this is something the company should be looking into," Marc Werner, CEO BMW Group Australia, told Car Advice. "We have raised that with headquarters and certainly investigations are happening as we speak, but it's too early to speak about the results of that analysis, but if there was a ute we would certainly take it."
According to Werner, the truck market is currently hot in Australia with sales up 17 percent last year, and the segment occupies roughly 13 percent of the country's annual vehicle sales.
By itself, the Australian pickup market is likely too small for BMW develop a truck exclusively for the country. However, the model could follow Mercedes lead of creating the model and then selling it in select regions worldwide. Pickups also sell well in portions of Southeast Asia and South America.
Werner isn't the first BMW exec to mention adding a truck to the company's lineup, either. Last year, BMW Senior Vice President for Asia and South Africa Hendrik von Kunheim said that pickup was at least under consideration, and the company was researching whether it would work in European and Asian markets.
Mercedes was able to leverage its close ties with the Renault-Nissan Alliance when developing the X-Class by using the platform from the Nissan Navara pickup. Without a similar partnership, BMW would likely use the platform underneath its crossovers. Rather than the body-on-frame layout that's underneath many pickups, this approach in a truck with a unibody, sort of like the way Honda engineers the Ridgeline.
If BMW wants to get really wild, it could always create a ute out of an existing model by stripping away the rear passenger compartment and cargo area. The M division has actually done this kind of radical surgery before. In the 1980s, the team there created a shop truck out of a 3 Series convertible. The crew later replaced it with a similarly modified E92-generation M3.