X marks the spot for BMW

Peo­ple-power drives the fu­ture of sales

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

‘‘ 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.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.