BMW Australia Pushing For One-Tonne Ute To Take On Mercedes-Benz X-Class
BMW Australia is pushing its head office in Munich for a one-tonne pick-up to take on the likes of the incoming Mercedes-Benz X-Class, Volkswagen’s Amarok and the market-leading Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger.
The Bavarian ute however, will likely not surface for another five years if at all, while it still remains unclear if BMW will develop its own light-commercial vehicle or if it will tap the expertise of another brand like its Mercedes rival.
Speaking at the launch of the new X2 crossover, BMW Australia boss Marc Werner was open about the brand’s desire to introduce its own premium ute to the local market.
“We’ve been very pushy regarding utes and pick-ups,” he said. “We believe that this is something that the company should be looking to. We’ve raised that with (global headquarters) and there are certainly investigations as we speak.
“But it is too early to talk about any results from that analysis. But if there was a ute, we would certainly take it.
“If you look at the market with more than 150,000 utes out of 1.1 million vehicles overall – and I think that segment grew last year by 17 per cent – we cannot close our eyes and neglect it. We cannot neglect market trends.”
When asked if a pick-up would go against BMW’s mantra of driver enjoyment and superior dynamics, Mr Werner said a ute from the brand would still retain a level of sportiness.
“Let me answer the question in the following way,” he said. “When we launched the E53 (original X5) in 1999, everyone though ‘that doesn’t go with the BMW DNA’.
“But now we are selling something like 450,000 SUVs on a worldwide basis, so I think at the end of the day, we need to cater for what the customer wants.
“From a pure engineering perspective, everything is possible and the sky is the limit.”
At last year’s Frankfurt motor show, then then Asia-Pacific top executive Hendrik von Kuenheim slammed the Mercedespick-up, calling it “appalling”.
“I saw the car (X-Class) obviously in Geneva. I was actually disappointed, very disappointed. They can do better. They build fantastic cars, but this one it was a disappointment,” he said at the time.
This article originally appeared on CarsGuide.