The small sport-sedan segment was more or less invented by BMW in the 1960s, and a new entry invariably is dubbed a "3-series fighter." More are on the horizon.
A decade ago Jaguar launched its first 3-series combatant, the X-Type. It's extinct, but Jag wants another shot. Brand boss Adrian Hallmark says Jaguar is considering a sedan below the XF.
John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America, says Hyundai is considering a rear-drive sport sedan to share a platform with the Genesis.
Volvo execs say the 2011 S60 competes with the 3-series because of its styling and performance.
Cadillac says it will roll out its ATS in 2012. It plans to mimic BMW's strategy of variants--first a sedan, then a coupe, convertible, etc.
BMW's German rivals have had 3-series fighters but have concluded the key to the 3's success are the variants. Besides the sedan, BMW has a convertible, coupe, wagon, and high-performance version. Audi added the A5 coupe and convertible a couple of years ago, and Mercedes now is copying the strategy: it's launching a C-class coupe this year and plans a full C-class range in a few years.