BMW's decision to launch front-wheel-drive minivans outraged many brand purists, but the gamble seems to be paying off in terms of sales.
The 2-series Active Tourer/Grand Tourer models were the third-best selling compact minivans in the EU and EFTA markets through September - beating mass-market rivals such as the Renault Scenic, Ford C-Max and premium rival Mercedes' B class (see table below). Only the Citroen C4 Picasso and VW Touran outsold the BMW models.
BMW deliberated about entering a sector dominated by mass-market brands and far removed from the premium marque's sporty rear-wheel-drive models that promise the 'Joy of Driving.'
The automaker also decided not to sell the cars in the key U.S. market, citing a weak demand for premium compact minivans.
In Europe, the launch of the minivans has paid of in terms of unit sales and financially. The 2-series Active Tourer has the highest average price of any competitor in the segment at 35,688 euros ($40,000), according to JATO Dynamics's data for Europe's five biggest markets in the first half.
Both the Active Tourer and the seven-seat Grand Tourer are built on BMW's UKL front-wheel-drive platform, which also underpins new Mini models.