As BMW cancels niche models and prepares to release new ones, it's in the middle of a transformative restructuring process that will allegedly force many enthusiast-approved nameplates out of its line-up. An unverified report claims the firm will pluck slow-selling models from its range to significantly trim its operating expenses during the 2020s.
Citing anonymous sources, Automobile magazine wrote BMW management has canceled the convertible version of the 2 Series, the standard-wheelbase 7 Series, the X2, the coupe and convertible variants of the 8 Series, and the next-generation Z4. We knew that some of these cars were living on borrowed time. The topless 2 Series competes in a steadily shrinking segment of the market, and it overlaps with the Z4, which BMW released in 2018 after a lengthy development process twinned with Toyota's born-again Supra program. We don't think anyone will notice if the standard-wheelbase 7 Series goes away; it's not even sold in the United States, one of the sedan's biggest and most important markets.
We're more than a little surprised to see the other nameplates on BMW's death row, however. The X2 landed squarely in one of the hottest segments of the new car market, and it has been relatively well received in key markets like the United States and China. The Z4 and the 8s are new additions to the company's portfolio, so they're expected to stick around for at least another eight years, if not more. It's unusual for an automaker to talk about axing a series-produced model a few months after it goes on sale.
While convertibles are out, according to the report, SUVs are in. Automobile added BMW's higher-ups approved the development of a long-rumored flagship SUV called X8. It will arrive as a sportier evolution of the X7 available with a palette of high-performance powertrains that will include a plug-in hybrid option with up to 60 miles of electric range. An X8 M is also in the pipeline.
BMW hasn't commented on the report, and it hasn't shed light on its future plans yet. We know the company is attempting to balance its image as the purveyor of the ultimate driving machine and the need to develop electrified powertrains, and it proved it's not afraid to deep-six models it can't sell. The two-door 1 Series won't return, neither will the family-friendly 2 Series Active Tourer.
With that said, the report emerged a little over a month after BMW CEO Harald Krueger announced plans to resign on August 15. His successor, manufacturing guru Oliver Zipse, was appointed with instructions to help the automaker keep up with rivals by accelerating its tech offensive, a process that promises to be costly and time consuming. Drastic changes wouldn't be entirely surprising.