Currently reading: BMW 1 Series saloon denied European launch
BMW dismisses reports that its China-only model will be sold in more key markets
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2 mins read
31 May 2017

BMW will not rush into launching its 1 Series saloon outside of China, despite the sales success of the rival Audi A3 saloon and recent confirmation from Mercedes-Benz that it will add a saloon model to its A-Class line-up in 2018.

A BMW source told Autocar that reports stating the firm had already drawn up plans to sell the four-door 1 Series in key global markets, including the UK, were wide of the mark. The source said the sole focus for the new saloon is the Chinese market, where the front-wheel-drive 1 Series saloon is produced in a joint venture with Brilliance.

Small cars with saloon body styles remain popular in China, in contrast to most European markets where hatchbacks are preferred.

“There are no immediate plans to sell the 1 Series saloon outside of China. The initial signs there are quite positive,” said the source.

BMW has confirmed that a feasibility study assessing the merit of selling the 1 Series saloon globally is underway. However, that is said to revolve around the next generation four-door due in 2021, rather than the model on sale in China.

One of the concerns for BMW in mapping out a global sales strategy for the 1 Series saloon is the impact it could have on sales of its linchpin model, the 3 Series saloon. The latter has better profit margins than the smaller car.

“We don’t want to get into a situation like that at Audi, where the smaller model has conquest sales from the larger model,” Autocar’s source said, hinting that although the A3 saloon has been a success, it has also stolen sales from the A4 saloon.

BMW is planning to switch the next 1 Series hatchback from its current rear-wheeldrive architecture to a front-wheel drive platform, upon which cars are cheaper to produce. After that model has arrived in 2019, BMW could begin offering the mechanically identical 1 Series saloon in global markets.

Another scenario has BMW twinning a new four-door GranCoupé model with the next-generation 2-series Coupé to create a rear-wheeldrive rival to the Audi A3 and Mercedes A-class saloons. 

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A final facelift for the rear-wheel drive BMW 1 Series, as it aims to take class honours from the formidable Audi A3 and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class

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405line 9 June 2017

Because it's easier to make a profit

It's cheaper to make FWD so we are going to see BMW with the "monkfish" frontal overhangs in the future not going to get hysterical about this. Will keep driving the old boy then see where the market takes me..and it ain't gonna be a FWD car. The main thing that makes mass production cars "not so good" is being implemented at beemer. A big mistake in my opinion because if the car is not premium why would you choose it over an "equivalent" rival unless that rival have some front end trickery(knuckle up)as standard. Ford must be the happiest mass manufacturer out there as BMW are going to find out. The punters may not "know it" however salesmen from the rival companies will point it out soon enough that "the BMW is EXACTLY the same as ours"...why pay more?
abkq 31 May 2017

I don't understand why there

I don't understand why there appears to be sales potential for premium compact saloon when there is none for non-premium marques - VW fails repeatedly to promote its Jetta/Vento/Bora or by any other name it still refuses to sell, and does Ford still bother to do a booted Focus?
wmb 31 May 2017

????!

Autocar's source said: "“We don’t want to get into a situation like that at Audi, where the smaller model has conquest sales from the larger model,” Autocar’s source said, hinting that although the A3 saloon has been a success, it has also stolen sales from the A4 saloon." Then Autocar speculated that: "Another scenario has BMW twinning a new four-door GranCoupé model with the next-generation 2-series Coupé to create a rear-wheeldrive rival to the Audi A3 and Mercedes A-class saloons."
The problem with these two conflicting statements are:
1.) While BMW may not believe customers know or care which wheels drive their cars, IMHO, in the case of BMW's I think most do. Especially in the case of the 3 Series! So, honestly, the 3 Series sales they may loose to the 1 Series in other markets may be so small, it may not be worth serious concern. The difference with the A3 and 4 is that they BOTH are FWD/AWD and so the size and driving dynamic are some much closer!
2.) The speculation from Autocar about twinning the 2 Series with a Grand Coupe may sound exciting, but if BMW is fretting over the FWD/AWD 1 Series eating up sales of the RWD 3 Series, why would they do the same thing with a RWD four door 2 Series???!

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