PARIS -- BMW will develop 10 to 12 compact models based on its new front-wheel-drive platform, said Ian Robertson, board member for sales and marketing.
The platform, known as UKL, debuted on the Concept Active Tourer at the auto show. The concept, which has a high seating position, hints at a crossover based on a future 1 series.
The UKL platform will be used for future BMW and Mini vehicles.
The first likely will be the next-generation Mini Cooper due in 2014.
Robertson suggested that the BMW fwd cars could be coming at about the same time.
"One of the big advantages of UKL is that we are able to launch a lot of products almost simultaneously because we are doing the engineering at once," Robertson said. "This is the first car that we are showing."
BMW executives believe the premium small car market will become the fastest growing segment, he said.
The new fwd architecture will enable additional interior space.
"We will attract a broad profile of customers, from young families to people entering the later phase of life," Robertson said. "You get a lot of flexibility."