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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Report: BMW undecided about bringing next-gen 1-Series to US in fears of product overlap with MINI


It seems the BMW 1-Series has been destined to a terrible fate as many automobile enthusiasts have became increasingly skeptical of how BMW is planning the entry-level model’s future. The first generation took off decently well in both its home turf and our shores by developing a cult status amongst enthusiasts. But in erratic shifts of corporate philosophy, BMW seems to have completely changed the mission of the 1-Series by changing it to a front-wheel drive vehicle (WHY BMW, WHY?).


And to make things a little more tipsy, CARandDRIVER reports that BMW may not even sell the 1-Series in the US any more for the next generation. In a bit of irony, this may actually be a GOOD thing considering the next-generation 1-Series will be front-wheel driven. Yes, I know, the Mercedes-Benz CLA is making out to be a competent entry-level luxury sports sedan that drives its front wheels—and the Audi A3 sedan, well, that’s just an A3 hatch after Audi’s precision liposuction. So we know that’s a competent car as is. But out of them all, BMW has always prided themselves as the ones to be different by doing none other but keeping the driving enthusiast in mind. And we really wish they kept that with the 1-Series by keeping its rear-wheel drive layout.


“Where we have the 1-series close to the 3-series in terms of the price ladder, what Mercedes and Audi are doing is giving more focus in the below-$30,000 price range,” BMW of North America’s chief of product planning and strategy, Paul Ferrariolo told C/D. “ We’re going to watch that and in the future—well, the battleground has now moved to this $30,000 price point. We’re working hard to take advantage of that market.”

BMW originally had low sales expectations for the first generation 1-Series from the get-go due to the fact that they knew that it would be more impractical than many of its rivals at the comparative price point. Though low volume isn’t the reason for BMW’s indecision to import the second generation 1-Series into the US. The reason that the BMW 1-Series might not make it for the next generation is due to the fear of product overlap with MINI and that the 1-Series is too costly to export to the US.


Additionally, the planners at BMW of North America’s HQ in New Jersey are keeping a very close eye on the success of the incoming Mercedes-Benz CLA, who dealt the first hand in this round of competition, followed by the Audi A3 sedan. They will of course report back to Munich on the CLA’s and A3's success, which also determines the fate of the next-generation 1-Series for our shores.

That said, egmCarTech’ers, do you think we deserve the next 1-Series on our shores? Let us know in the comment section. Roundel fans have been able to coax BMW into offering the new M5 and M6, which they have, strictly for our market. So they are listening…

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