BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer this morning confirmed Autocar’s story that the carmaker is planning a range of front-wheel drive BMW models.
A new platform, covering front- and four-wheel drive models, will be used for both the third-generation Mini in 2014 and for a range of BMW models between 3.8m and 4.3m long.
According to industry reports, there could eventually be up to 20 individual BMW and Mini-badged models based on the new BMW-engineered platform. The dual length of the platform would enable it to cover models sized from a typical supermini to a Golf-sized car.
Reithofer also confirmed that the next-generation BMW 1-series would continue to be based on a rear-wheel drive chassis.
According to the Financial Times, Reithofer said the new platform would allow BMW to ‘achieve its profitability aims in the small car sector’ but that the company could offer the to share the platform with other carmakers, further increasing the economies of scale.
Klaus Draeger, head of development at BMW, was also quoted by the FT as saying BMW could build between 600 and 800,000 front-drive cars annually without co-operating with another brand.
Speaking at the company’s annual results press conference, Reithofer estimated that the ‘premium small car’ market would grow annually by 4-6 percent every year until 2020.
BMW is also estimating that, by 2020, the average Co2 emissions of its entire new car fleet will, be just 117g/km, a figure driven down by the new range of baby BMW models.
There’s no news on whether the new platform will be shared with Peugeot-Citroen with whom BMW have an engine building joint venture.
However, Draeger told the FT that if BMW decided to share the platform, the company would ‘talk first’ to the carmakers it is already in partnership with.