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BMW Bringing Product Blitz in Bid to Lock Luxury Market Leadership

by | April 15, 2024

It was a good year for BMW, the automaker gaining traction in most global markets while setting an all-time record in the U.S. To keep the momentum going, the automaker is planning a product blitz that will see nearly 40 new models come to market over the next half-decade, including an assortment of battery-electric vehicles, EVs already generating about 13% of the Bavarian automakers U.S. sales.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse SAV - 2-shot by water

The upcoming iX3 is believed to be the first BMW SAV that will adopt the Neue Klasse platform and technology.

BMW has flooded the market with all-new and redesigned vehicles over the last few years, but the product wave may just be getting underway. During a two-day meeting with dealers in Las Vegas this month, the Bavarian automaker revealed plans for nearly 40 new models set to reach market before the end of the decade.

The products cover a broad range of market segments, with replacements for familiar products such as the X3 and X5 Sport-Activity Vehicles, as well as new battery-electric models based off the company’s next-generation EV platform.

BMW so far has shown off only a handful of the new models, starting with sedan and crossover prototypes based off the all-electric Neue Klasse platform. But the product blitz will start off in the coming months with the arrival of a fourth-generation X3 set to go on sale in the U.S. later this year.

Electrifying

BMW i7

EVs like the BMW i7 generated 13% of the Bavarian automaker’s U.S. sales last year.

The automaker was an early pioneer in the electrified vehicle market with products such as the battery-powered i3 city car and the i8, a plug-in hybrid sports car. After a pause to rethink its approach to electrification it has rolled out four new EVs over the last two years, including the i7, an all-electric take on the flagship 7-Series.

An increasing number of products will use battery technology, BMW indicated, including mild, conventional and plug-in hybrid powertrains. But there will be more pure electric models, starting with the production versions of the Neue Klasse. That platform marks a distinct shift away from the approach BMW took with the current i4 and i7 models.

All but one of the current models rely on platforms capable of using gas, hybrid or all-electric powertrain technology. The underlying architecture of the iX, however, was specifically designed to be EV-only. The Neue Klasse architecture is also dedicated to all-electric technology, taking things to the next level.

“Just unreal”

Tesla store Somerset

BMW hopes to cut into Tesla sales with future EV offerings.

“The product is just unreal,” one of the dealers that attended the Las Vegas session told trade publication Automotive News. “Companies like Tesla should be shaking in their boots because [BMW’s] electric stuff is outrageous.”

The good news for BMW is that buyers seem to be embracing its EV offerings. U.S. motorists purchased 10,713 of them during 2023, according to data from Edmunds. That worked out to roughly 13% of the automaker’s total volume, compared to around 8% for the U.S. auto industry as a whole.

“We plan to sell more EVs in 2024 than in 2023,” Sebastian Mackensen, BMW’s North America chief, told Automotive News earlier this year, and preliminary data suggests he was on target – even though the overall growth of the U.S. EV market has slowed markedly in recent months.

More BMW news

A mixed bag

Mini Aceman

Dealers also got a look at the all-electric Mini Aceman during the two-day event in Las Vegas.

BMW’s push into battery power isn’t surprising considering the pressures it faces from global regulators. The European Union plans to go all-electric by 2035. Revised emissions rules announced by the Biden administration last month call for two-thirds of all new vehicles on sale in 2032 to be EVs – though automakers could reduce that figure slightly by adding up to 15% plug-in hybrids.

In the meantime, BMW plans to continue rolling out a mix of conventional gas models, as well as electrified options.

It delivered several surprises during the Las Vegas dealer meeting. While it only laid out some of its plans for the product blitz, it showed off several notable new models.

That included an apparently production-ready version of the 2025 BMW M5 Touring model. Set to go into production by year-end, it will continue to use the automaker’s muscular V-8s. But it will add even more of a boost with a combination of twin turbos and hybrid boost. Dealers were told the M5 Touring will deliver more than 700 hp.

The session wasn’t limited to the BMW brand. Dealers also get to see the new Mini Aceman, an all-electric model that the British-based subsidiary also plans to bring to the U.S. market.

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