MUNICH - BMW expects sales of the new 3-series station wagon to total more than the combined sales of the previous two models.
It plans to sell 235,000 units over the car's lifetime, partly thanks to launching it in the USA, Japan and Brazil for the first time, said Carl-Peter Forster, BMW management board member.
Last year BMW had a 10 percent share of the luxury compact station wagon market, which it estimates reached 52,000 units a year worldwide. Its biggest markets are also the leaders in worldwide station wagon sales: Germany, UK and Italy.
Forster expects demand in these markets to accelerate over the next few years. But he also sees re-awakened interest in the US and Japan, where station wagon sales have been lackluster with buyers preferring minivans and sport-utilities. 'Now we also expect customers in the US and Japan to wake up and join in this trend,' said Forster.
The new 3-series station wagon will go on sale in Japan this November and in the US and Brazil next spring. European sales start in October.
BMW will boost output of the wagon to at least 10 percent of total 3-series production, compared with 6-8 percent for previous generations. Although BMW claims it invented this segment, both Audi and Mercedes Benz outsell it. The Audi Avant accounts for 40 percent of total A4 sales.
To reach its 10 percent target, BMW will add more standard features to the 3-series station wagon. For example, the rear window can now be opened without opening the rear hatch door, a feature taken from the 5-series wagon.