Why the change of heart?
Not only is BMW bringing back the 8 Series after being out of production for nearly two decades, but it’s also considering another model for the US at the complete opposite of the size spectrum. Automotive News has learned that, in addition to new crossovers, such as an X2, the German automaker is seriously considering bringing the front-wheel-drive 1 Series sedan to American buyers. We’ve reported on the 1 Series sedan before, which is sold in China only.
When it debuted earlier this year, we were told it would remain in China and to forget about a US market arrival. Apparently, that’s changed. Why? Because the competition, specifically Mercedes-Benz, will soon unleash a few new small cars in the US. The A-Class sedan is one of them, and it’s set to go on sale sometime in 2018. Allowing Mercedes to have a segment all to itself doesn’t seem to sit right with BMW management, hence the 1 Series reconsideration. If this plan transpires, chances are the BMW faithful won’t be too interested because of the small sedan being FWD. Real BMWs, to brand purists, are rear-wheel-drive, such as the 2,3, 5, and 7 Series.
Instead, the 1 Series sedan will aim for younger buyers, many of whom may not even be aware of the fact they’re driving a FWD car. And the fact of the matter is they couldn’t care less; they just want a BMW at an affordable price. Another factor the report fails to mention is the fact that the 1 Series is built in China. Could it then be imported to the US? Could BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina handle US market production instead? A final decision has yet to be made, but the report claims an early 2019 on sale date is being targeted.