The head of BMW in Australia says he is “pushing” the Munich-based brand to enter the bakkie segment, insisting that the automaker shouldn’t “neglect market trends".
According to CarAdvice, Marc Werner, CEO of BMW Group Australia, said that he was keen for the brand to build a rival for the Mercedes-Benz X-Class (which a high-ranking BMW executive earlier described as “appalling” and a “disappointment”).
“We cannot close our eyes and neglect it; we cannot neglect market trends,” Werner said, according to the Australian publication. “We have been very pushy regarding utes or pick-ups, and we believe that this is something the company should be looking into.
“We have raised that with headquarters and certainly investigations are happening as we speak, but it’s too early to speak about the results of that analysis … but if there was a ute we would certainly take it,” he added.
Werner furthermore told GoAuto.com.au that a BMW-badged bakkie would not necessarily contradict the German automaker’s established brand values.
“Let me answer the question in the following way. When we launched the E53 (the original X5) in 1999, everyone thought ‘that doesn’t go with the BMW DNA’,” Werner said, according to GoAuto.com.au.
“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.
“Then the question is, ‘does it fit with the BMW DNA and the BMW brand promise?’ or ‘are we over-stretching the brand?’. I think that is the core question that needs to be answered. Because from a pure engineering perspective, everything is possible and the sky is the limit,” he added.
Back in July 2016, Werner said that he watching the bakkie segment closely, while in September 2017 he added that there was "very high-level interest" in a BMW-badged bakkie in certain markets.
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