The fate of a German pickup now rests on VW and Audi.
Even though BMW has never sold a production pickup truck, the German luxury brand has built not one, but two prototype M3 pickups based on the E30 and E90 generation cars. Many markets, mainly Australia, have been begging BMW to build a pickup truck to rival the new Mercedes X-Class. Unfortunately, BMW has been hesitant, even calling the X-Class "appalling" in an interview.
At this year's 2018 Paris Motor Show, BMW told Motoring the bad news - a pickup truck isn't going to happen.
BMW development chief and board member Klaus Frohlich took responsibility for the decision saying, "I'm the bad guy." Even though BMW's Australian division has been begging the factory to build a pickup for years, Frohlich said: "I see no evidence that we can ever do a good proposition. If you look at the pickup market, it's very much utilities, so median price points are very, very low. Every business case we did so far, it was by far not relevant. For us, the market segment is too small, because we are at the higher price level for pickups. The premium side of that market is extremely small [and] there's only a few regions of the world – Australia is one of them."
The development costs of a BMW truck would just be too high and the benefits too small. Mercedes saved costs by basing the X-Class on the Nissan Navara platform. BMW has already partnered with Toyota to build the Z4/Supra, so the idea of a Hilux-based BMW truck was also floated but Frohlich said: "We will never do something badge engineering."
Sorry to anyone who was holding out for a production version of the M3 Ute, but if you want one, you'll have to build it yourself.