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BMW readies 1 Series sedan

China doll: BMW used China’s Guangzhou show to tease its baby sedan that could end up in Australian showrooms.

Australian arm keen on A3 and CLA-fighting BMW 1 Series sedan


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29 Jan 2016

BMW Australia has signaled its desire to add the 1 Series sedan, that is currently being developed in China, to its stable of passenger cars.

The front-drive sedan, based on the UKL platform, appeared as the BMW Compact Concept Sedan at the Guangzhou motor show in November last year.

The baby sedan, which competes with the Mercedes-Benz CLA and Audi A3 sedans, remains officially a concept, but BMW Group Australia managing director Marc-Heinrich Werner put a more positive spin on it, saying “it’s something we are looking at”.

“We can see the successes of the UKL segment because this is the fastest growing passenger-car segment,” he said.

“There is certainly more room for passenger car derivatives and call it the 1 Series sedan or the 2 Series sedan, we have shown concepts and this is something we are currently looking at.

“I believe that if that car was available as a right-hand-drive vehicle then it would certainly make sense to launch that car in Australia.”

But Mr Werner said that even though the sedan was a concept, BMW had already discussed its market potential.

It is also the subject of spy photographs in China and Europe, confirming that the car has progressed beyond stage decoration at a motor show.

The car was shown at the Guangzhou motor show because it is expected to be added to BMW’s Chinese production.

However, Mr Werner said it was unlikely China would be the only production site.

“It’s not 100 per cent that China will be the only production site because we look at the global markets for this concept and see where else it can be produced,” he said.

“But at the moment, nothing is confirmed.

“For us (in Australia), it always comes back to its availability as a right-hand drive and if that was the case, this car is possible.”

The sedan is based on the same Mini-derived platform that underpins the 2 Series Active Tourer and X1 SUV.

The sedan is likely to be fitted with the same drivetrain as the 3 Series, including the entry-level 1.5-litre three-cylinder unit and an eight-speed automatic.

It is also possible to be marketed as an all-wheel drive, using the same driveline as the X1 to create an xDrive all-wheel drive option for Europe and North America.

The Audi A3 sedan and Mercedes-Benz CLA have been big hits for their respective car-maker's.

The CLA overtook its A-Class sibling in Australia last year as the second best-selling model in the Benz line-up with 3659 sales, and of the 5443 A3s sold in 2015, about 2500 were sedans.

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