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BMW reveals future model plans

Grand tourer: BMW's four-door GT will be based on the CS Concept.

New BMW GT and compact SUV models confirmed, plus Mini SUV and entry-level Roller

2 Oct 2007

BMW has decided not to build a luxury people-mover but has confirmed that by 2012 it will add an X1 to its SUV line-up as well as a four-door Gran Turismo based on the CS concept that appeared at the recent Shanghai motor show.

Although the company has ruled out a Mercedes R-class-style machine, it has promised to produce a new vehicle concept that will establish an entirely new market segment.

The German car-maker has also revealed that its Mini brand will produce an SUV version – or SAV for Sports Activity Vehicle in BMW-speak – as predicted by GoAuto almost a year ago.

And the BMW-owned Rolls-Royce brand has not been left out of the mix, with a new entry-level model that will be both smaller and cheaper than the current Phantom (which sells here from $915,000).

As revealed by GoAuto last month, the new Roller is codenamed RR4 and is expected to go on sale here in 2010 priced below $500,000.

Rolls-Royce also has under development a coupe to challenge the successful Bentley Continental GT. The new coupe will be the third variant of the V12 Phantom after the four-door saloon and recently-released two-door convertible.

BMW Group’s future model plans were revealed in Munich last Thursday by chairman Norbert Reithofer while outlining the company’s new corporate strategy.

14 center imageLeft: BMW X6 and X Coupe Concept.

Dr Reithofer said that he expects premium vehicle sales and services to continue to grow much faster than for the mass market. BMW estimates the premium segment will increase by 40 per cent between 2005 and 2019 compared with growth of just under 20 per cent for the mass segment.

As GoAuto reported in October last year, the Mini brand will not only introduce a compact SUV to the market as early as next year, but is looking to add all-wheel drive to other variants in order to cope with the demands of more powerful performance engines.

The company also sees the possibility of a 4WD Mini breaking into markets with alpine ski areas, in much the same way as Subaru has managed with its all-wheel drive Impreza and Liberty/Legacy models.

The BMW X1 will slip into the line-up beneath the X3, X5 and the new coupe-styled X6 that was revealed in concept form just last month at the Frankfurt motor show and will go into production in 2008.

BMW’s new four-door GT, which is clearly aimed at the Mercedes CLS, will be based on the CS concept that surprised everybody when it was revealed at the Shanghai show in China in April.

It may carry the 8 Series nameplate, but there are many in Munich who want to distance the newcomer from the previous overweight and under-selling 8 Series coupe that was discontinued in 2000.

The GT is known internally as the Sports Luxury Coupe (SLC) but that acronym is too clearly associated with Benz.

GoAuto expects the GT to be based on the next generation 7 Series saloon and to offer a choice of V8 and V12 engines, including a high-performance M version.

Dr Reithofer also revealed a number of corporate objectives and initiatives for the BMW Group over the next 13 years, including: • 1.8 million vehicle sales annually by 2012 (up from 1.37 million in 2006)

• More than 2 million sales by 2020

• A return on sales of between 8.0 and 10.0 per cent by 2012

• Productivity increases of at least 5.0 per cent per annum

• Lifting production at the US Spartanburg plant from 140,000 to 240,000 by 2012

• Achieve increased production targets while maintaining current employment level

• Increase Mini production at Oxford, UK to 240,000 (currently 200,000)

• Increase Mini production in China from 30,000 to 44,000

• Spending 6 billion Euro (A$10b) in the next five years to improve efficiency.

Finally, Dr Reithofer indicated that BMW would in future continue to pursue its program of buying back public shares in the company.

Two years ago, BMW spent about $1.25 billion buying back more than 20 million shares, representing 3 per cent of capital stock, and earlier this year applied to buy-back a further 10 per cent.

Read more:

First look: BMW breaks another mould with X6

First look: BMW revives 8 Series

More affordable RR4 to quadruple sales

New Mini family aims for maximum effect

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