FRANKFURT, Germany--Starting late next year, BMW Group will launch three crossovers within months of one another in the United States.
Among them are the small X1 that debuted at the Frankfurt auto show. The X1 will be positioned as a niche vehicle in the United States when it arrives in late 2010. It will be priced more than the 1 series, BMW's entry-level car.
The success of the vehicle will depend "a lot on the price of gas," said Jim O'Donnell, CEO of BMW of North America.
In the United States, the X1 will be powered by a six-cylinder gasoline engine and will be available in both front- and all-wheel drive. The X1 is 175.2 inches long--slightly longer than the 1 series--and can carry up to five passengers.
BMW does not plan to price the X1 for high volume, citing the weak dollar against the euro and anticipated strong demand in Europe. That is the same strategy being followed with the 1 series. BMW sells about 1,000 units a month of the 1 series in the United States.
The X1 will be followed in early 2011 by a Mini crossover that debuted as a concept at last year's Paris auto show. That vehicle has not yet been named.
O'Donnell said he is not worried about cross-shopping of Mini and BMW vehicles. He said the brands have different buyers.
The replacement for the X3 crossover, which is expected to be larger than the current version, also will debut in early 2011. The new X3 will be produced at BMW's Spartanburg, S.C., plant.
(Source: Automotive News)