BMW AG has risen back to the top of the premium SUV segment with the launch of its new X1.
The smallest of BMW's four-model crossover lineup was designed to attract cost-conscious young buyers who want to be eco-friendly without sacrificing performance or the security of optional all-wheel drive.
The combination of those factors has led to high initial demand.
Through July, BMW has sold 55,550 X1s. Since its market launch in late-October 2009, more than 64,049 X1s have been sold, the company said.
The X1's strong debut made it Europe's first-half sales leader among all premium SUVs, according to UK-based market researcher JATO Dynamics, which does not yet have European sales data for January-July.
It should be noted that the X1 is the first car in what will become the premium small SUV segment. Along with being smaller, the X1 is at least 9,000 euros less expensive than the other premium SUVs in the segment. The X1, which starts at 27,200 euros (about $35,800) in Germany, will begin to get direct rivals soon. The Audi Q3 and Saab 9-4X are due to arrive in 2011. Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti also are expected to challenge the X1, which also will get competition from the Countryman made by sister brand Mini. The Countryman will go on sale in Europe in September with prices starting at 20,200 euros in Germany. U.S. sales begin in early 2011.