I admit to some initial sceptism over BMW's plans for a small sub-3 series model. There are other examples of prestige brands making smaller cars that are not exactly covered in glory: step forward the Audi A2 and Mercedes-Benz A-class. Both companies have lost out heavily - in financial terms - on those models (whatever they say). But BMW's strategy on its upcoming '1' should have the accountants in Munich sitting relatively easy. For one thing it will be built alongside the 3 and share up to 40% of its larger relative's components. While the two ranges won't share platform, 80% of the production processes will be the same, allowing production of the 1 series in plants where the the 3 series is made. Common processes and shared components should give the 1 series a decent chance of succeeding commercially.