LUCA CIFERRI

BMW: wagons for Europe, GTs for the rest of the world

Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.
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BMW's Gran Turismo (GT) models are aimed at countries such as the United States and China, while Europe is the main market for the automaker's station wagons.

The 3-series and 5-series wagons are popular in Europe while demand is growing in other markets for cars such as the 3-series GT and 5-series GT, said BMW's sales and marketing boss Ian Robertson. "Our 3-series Touring and 5-series Touring wagons are crucial for Europe, with Germany accounting for 40 percent of global demand for these two models, followed by the UK with 11 percent and Italy with 9 percent," Robertson told me on the sidelines of the Los Angeles auto show.

The GT models are aimed at customers who want a more practical car than a sedan but are not interested in a wagon. They have a tailgate similar to wagons so luggage can be easy loaded but they have a higher driving position than wagons.

"Our GT variants are truly international models since 78 percent of their combined sales happen out of Europe," Robertson said. By comparison, BMW sells 40 percent of its wagons outside Europe.

Next year, BMW will add a minivan-styled compact model targeted at young families, sports enthusiasts who need space for their equipment and older buyers who like cars that are easy to get in and out of and have a high seating position. The minivan will be based on the Active Tourer concept and is set to debut in production guise at the Geneva auto show in March. Most likely it will be called the 2-series Active Tourer. It will be underpinned by BMW's new UKL front-wheel-drive architecture that debuted this week on the third-generation Mini.

You can reach Luca Ciferri at lciferri@crain.com.

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