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BMW banking on 2 Series Active Tourer sales boom

Active lifestyle: BMW's local boss, Phil Horton, expects the 2 Series Active Tourer to become a volume model for the brand in Australia.

Front-wheel drive 2 Series Active Tourer to underpin BMW's local volume growth


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23 Jun 2014

BMW is pinning strong sales hopes on its first non-Mini branded front-wheel drive model, the 2 Series Active Tourer, when it arrives in Australian showrooms later this year.

Aimed directly at the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, the all-new five-door wagon is expected to be one of the better selling models that the Munich-based brand will offer in Australia.

Due on sale in December, the 2 Series Active Tourer will cap off a hectic 15-month period of launch activity for the company, having released four all-new model ranges (2 Series Coupe, 4 Series Coupe, Convertible and Gran Coupe, X4 and i3) as well as refreshed or completely redesigned versions of the X5, X6 and Mini Hatch.

According to BMW Australia managing director Phil Horton, despite all the new releases, the Active Tourer’s uniqueness will help drive fresh interest to the brand from buyers who may never have previously considered a BMW.

“This is in many ways the most interesting car we are launching (this year), particularly from a volume perspective,” he revealed at the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe’s Australian market debut in Melbourne last week.

“It still has the BMW sporting design, but it runs on a new architecture, it has a three cylinder engine as one of the engines available in that car, and of course is a front-wheel drive for the first time.

Mr Horton said the success of other vehicles in the segment should ensure the success of the 2 Series Active Tourer locally.

“This is clearly a sector – both worldwide but also in Australia – where we see real volume potential. So we’re certainly not talking about a niche car here.

“If you look at the performance in the past with things like the Mercedes B-Class, then clearly there is a significant opportunity for us in Australia.

“And you can absolutely bet this is going to drive as well as any other BMW has in the past,” he said.

However, BMW may have to revise its 2 Series Active Tourer volume forecasts downwards if the B-Class’ 2014 market performance so far is any indication.

While enjoying a strong surge in demand when the current 246-Series surfaced in April 2012, year-to-date sales have plummeted 45 per cent from 1430 units in the same time frame last year to just 784 units.

In fact, just one year ago the B-Class was the second highest-selling Mercedes-Benz vehicle in Australia behind the evergreen C-Class range. Now it trails the latter as well as the A-Class, C-Class Coupe, ML-Class and Sprinter van.

Part of that attrition must be attributed to in-house competition from the massively successful A-Class hatch, as well as the CLA sedan and GLA crossover hatch. All have arrived in the past 12 months.

Meanwhile, BMW sales to the end of May are up 10.2 per cent over last year’s level – and running against an overall two per cent market contraction – with the 1 Series Hatch showing a star performance with a 26 per cent improvement.

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