A high-ranking BMW executive says the Bavarian brand has no plans to build a rival to the Mercedes-Benz X-Class, claiming there is “no market” for premium pick-ups.
Speaking to GoAuto.com at the Paris Motor Show, Klaus Fröhlich, member of the BMW board responsible for development, explained that the “premium side” of the bakkie segment was actually “extremely small”.
“If you look at the segment of pick-up trucks in general, it is very much that utilities at medium price points are very, very low,” he told the Australian publication.
“To do a proper pick-up you need a ladder-frame architecture. If you do a monocoque body style, this is very much compromised. And this is the reason why Daimler uses the Nissan [Navara] platform and puts a Daimler logo on it. We will never [do] badge engineering; it would be a BMW.
“So the market is big [but] the premium side of that market is extremely small. It was never profitable. There were only a few regions of the world; Australia is one of them, South Africa and certain areas of the [United] States where they have F150s.”
Fröhlich said building a BMW-badged bakkie would make little sense, considering the “unbelievably low” volume of the X-Class at the moment.
“There is no market. I have no market potential being given. I did the strategy, I did pick-ups several times and I got only very low volumes. And if you look at the current Mercedes [X-Class] figures, I think so far the run rate is less than 4 000 cars a month,” the 58-year-old said.
“Okay, yes, if that car is a success let’s talk in 12 months. Worldwide they sell less than 4 000 cars a month – unbelievably low, that volume, even though they have quite aggressive prices.
“I see no evidence that we can ever do a good proposition of that,” he added.
In September 2017, the head of BMW in Australia admitted that some markets had shown “very high-level interest” in a luxury bakkie from the Munich-based automaker.