GERMANY: BMW rethinks 1 Series exports to US
BMW may not go ahead with plans to export its new 1-series entry-premium car to the US, its biggest market, reports Automotive News Europe.
Company executives had previously said a version of the 1 series, most likely a sedan, would come to America 18 to 24 months after the five-door hatchback is launched in Europe this summer.
Tom Purves, CEO of BMW North America, said the 1 series had been on track for sale in the US, but now "lots of things have changed." Purves said it may be up to BMW North America to make a case that the 1 series can sell in the US.
Burkhard Göschel, BMW's top product development executive in Germany, said, "Despite the success of our Mini, US customers still have to get used to small models."
Asked if the 1 series will come to the US before 2007, Göschel said: "This is not very likely. It has been a decision of BMW USA not to bring the 1 series to the US for the near future."
A Europe-based consultant working with BMW said the company is "backpedaling" because of the strong euro and because other 1-series derivatives are being considered.
A European stock analyst said: "The fact that there has been this wobble suggests there has been rethinking because the exchange rate has changed dramatically." The analyst added: "It raises the issue whether you can sell this vehicle profitably and if it helps you in terms of image and profitability."