BMW exec rules out any bakkie plans - here's why
Ever since Mercedes-Benz created a more premium corner of the double cab market with its X-Class, speculation has been rife that BMW might follow suit.
In 2016 BMW’s Australian boss at the time, Mark Werner, even admitted that the German carmaker was watching that space very closely.
But now a Bavarian bakkie appears to be a no-go, with BMW Australia Chief Executive Vikram Pawah recently telling Australian publication GoAuto that the company has no plans for a pick-up, nor any intentions to go down that path at a later stage, as there was simply no need for it.
“I don’t really see the need for it right now,” Pawah told GoAuto.
“We are pretty much focused on our luxury (vehicles), and I think the company has clearly defined that we are in the luxury business and that’s where we are going to be.”
Part of the problem is that the premium end of the bakkie segment is simply too small, as BMW development chief Klaus Frohlich told Aussie website Motoring.com.au at the Paris Motor Show last year.
The only ‘premium brand’ entrant at this stage is the Mercedes-Benz X-Class double cab, and this vehicle faces an uncertain future, following a report that Mercedes-Benz was set to cut its ties with Nissan.
This would leave the Benz bakkie without a platform as the X-Class is closely based on the current Nissan Navara and also built in a Nissan factory. It is unlikely that X-Class volumes, given that sales are said to be disappointing, would justify developing a unique architecture for the next-generation X-Class.
But could the premium carmakers rather go the unibody route like Honda did with its US-market Ridgeline? This would allow platform sharing with existing SUVs, while also making the vehicles more comfortable and efficient. While there is currently no word from Mercedes on the topic, this idea certainly doesn’t appeal to BMW, with Frohlich quoted as saying that a monocoque structure would be too compromised for a pick-up.