X marks the spot for BMW
People-power drives the future of sales
‘‘ I could see a time when SUVs account for 50 per cent ofBMWsales. But we’re talking a five-year horizon,’’ saysBMWGroup Australia’s new managing director Phil Horton.
He says runaway demand for the X5 and the latest X3, as well as the success of the controversial X6 coupe, is driving extra development in the SUV class. ‘‘ We’ve got a couple of things in the wings that we’re not talking about. For BMW, in the far pipeline, there is more,’’ he says.
Horton refuses to confirm anything smaller than today’s X1, although there is solid speculation in Europe that SUVs will be developed in the 1 Series family and also in BMW’s electric-powered ‘‘ i’’ range.
‘‘ There is no identified X model that will sit below X1 in the next five years,’’ he says, neatly sidestepping the question by putting a tight timeframe on the move. Horton also denies that the X-power change atBMWis diluting the company’s key selling point, its driver-focused enjoyment.
‘‘ The X5 is the perfect encapsulation of the Ultimate Driving Machine. We’re building them to be the best driving machines in the class,’’ he says.
AsBMWdevelops more on the X front, the company is also considering a name change for its coupes and convertibles. Instead of staying with the 1-3-5-7 series it has used in the past, Horton says, there could be future models that use the even numbers pioneered on the Z4 roadster.
‘‘ The company is actively considering a nomenclature change,’’ he says.
‘‘ It’s all to do with the Chinese. They like the number four, apparently. There is active consideration of using the even numbers we don’t currently use. That would be two and four.’’