Asked whether rumours suggesting BMW had plans to enter the pick-up ranks were on the mark, BMW Australia managing director Marc Werner said: “We are looking at this closely," before adding: "a ute is certainly an interesting proposition.”
Werner’s comments are the first acknowledgment that BMW is looking at the possibilities of launching a pick-up truck.
It was recently revealed that BMW has a new global sales strategy to build more individual market-specific models, which has already produced a new front-wheel-drive 1 Series saloon for selected markets, including China.
Werner, the former BMW area manager for such diverse markets as Japan, Russia, India and South Korea, refused to confirm whether detailed discussions on the possible introduction of a pick-up had already taken place at boardroom level. However, he said: “Here at BMW, we are constantly looking at market trends. We are always on the lookout for market opportunities and for further product derivatives that would be suitable for our customers.”
Werner’s comments have added fuel to recent rumours that BMW could broaden its model base to include selected commercial vehicles in the future, as part of joint venture operations with Toyota, whose Hi-Lux pick-up sells well in many markets.
BMW's lack of expertise in the commercial vehicle market is the main obstacle in the way of a BMW pick-up, although the mooted link-up with Toyota could open up new areas of potential growth.
BMW’s success in the luxury SUV market, with models ranging from the BMW X1 to the BMW X6, could also provide it with opportunities to develop a pick-up truck boasting greater refinement and performance than that being targeted by Mercedes-Benz, albeit for a higher price.