FRANKFURT -- BMW plans to offer four-cylinder gasoline engines in the United States in an effort to meet stricter fuel economy rules.
Introduction of the powerplants, equipped with the automaker's next-generation twin turbochargers, “is the goal and we will do it,” Jim O'Donnell, CEO of BMW of North America, said today on the sidelines of the Frankfurt auto show.
O'Donnell said the engines will allow the automaker to reach U.S. targets before 2015. Under federal guidelines proposed today, automakers will have to improve the fuel economy of their fleets by 5 percent annually before a national standard of 35.5 mpg takes effect in the 2016 model year.
BMW will add a four-cylinder variant for its next 3 series in the United States by spring 2012, O'Donnell said. The automaker already equips its European 3 series with four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines.
BMW also is considering adding four-cylinder gasoline engines to its X1 and X3 crossovers and 1-series model in the United States.
In Europe, the X1 will be available with a four-cylinder, twin-turbo diesel engine when it launches this fall. The X3 and 1 series also are offered with four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines in Europe.
“We see potentially a significant market that could get to 100,000 four-cylinder engines” in the United States, O'Donnell said.