Paris - Ever since Mercedes revealed its Nissan Navara-based X-Class bakkie last year, there has been widespread speculation that BMW would follow suit with its own double cab.

BMW’s Australian division even campaigned for one and the concept certainly was discussed at head office level, but in the end it was decided against.

Australian website Motoring.com.au reports that BMW development chief Klaus Frohlich recently confirmed that idea is now off the table.

“Every business case we did so far … it was by far not relevant,” Frohlich told Australian media at the Paris Motor Show.

“For us, the market segment is too small, because we are at the higher price level for pick-ups. The premium side of that market is extremely small … there’s only a few regions of the world - Australia is one of them.”

Admittedly, a rugged ladder-frame one-tonner like the controversial Mercedes X-Class is rather hard to imagine - even if BMW manages to make it financially viable by roping Toyota into another project and dressing up its Hilux.

Mercedes can at least get away with stretching its brand in a more rugged direction as it already builds commercial vans and the rock-crawling G-Class. But BMW positions itself as a predominantly sporting brand.

Were BMW ever to take the bakkie leap, it would certainly make more sense to carve a niche for itself by creating a more car-like double cab based on the X5 chassis. But it’s an unproven market segment and not a safe bet for investment.

IOL Motoring