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New BMW product to spur strong finish to year

BMW confident swathe of new product can spur strong H2 2019 sales result

9 Jul 2019

BMW Group Australia is confident that a raft of new models due to arrive before year’s end will spur sales to beyond its 2018 total of 23,055 units, despite a 4.0 per cent year-to-date decline on the back of slowing economic conditions.


The German prestige car-maker is in the midst of one of its most prolific calendar years for new product, having released the all-new Z4 roadster, 8 Series coupe and convertible, X7 flagship SUV, 3 Series mid-size sedan and 7 Series limousine so far in 2019 – and has much more to come.


In the second half of the year, BMW is set to bring to market new versions of the X1 small SUV, X6 large coupe-SUV, 1 Series small hatch, 3 Series Touring mid-size wagon, 8 Series Gran Coupe sedan and a number of new engine variants across current model lines.


BMW Group Australia head of product and market planning Brendan Michel said the Bavarian brand is hopeful the rush of product can help the company overtake its 2018 figure, particularly with greater consumer confidence apparent now that the federal election has been run and won.


“I’d say we’re expecting a pretty big second half of this year,” Mr Michel said.


“We’re quietly on the confident side, with everything that we’ve launched in the first half and everything that’s coming – all these new engine variants in our core products such as X5 and 3 Series – that’s going to be a big second half for us.”


Mr Michel added that BMW dealerships are seeing an increase in traffic following the federal election, helped by two recent interest rate cuts.


“We’ve had some feedback from dealers that there’s been a little bit more people walking into dealerships post-election,” he said.


“There was another interest rate cut in June, which has given quite a bit of a bump to the market as well. There’s quite a bit more confidence in the market.”


BMW has recorded a total of 12,387 sales midway through the year, down 522 units over the same period last year, with volume-selling offerings such as the X1, X3, 1 Series and 3 Series all trending slightly downwards.


A number of new engine variants have been announced for Australia, starting with an entry-level 25d variant for the X5 large SUV, which is due in the fourth quarter.


With the X5 launch range consisting solely of inline six-cylinder engines, the 25d introduces a 2.0-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel engine to the range, producing 170kW and 500Nm of torque, and employing BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system.


The 25d should bring the point of entry to the X5 range under $100,000 (plus on-road costs), with the best-selling large SUV range currently kicking off from $112,900 for the 30d, up to $149,900 for the quad-turbo M50d.


The already-announced 45e six-cylinder plug-in hybrid will be arriving at the same time, as will the first V8 variant in the new X5 range – the M50i, which will be “very close” in price to the M50d, according to Mr Michel.


Powered by a detuned version of the 4.4-litre V8 found in the M5 and other M models, the M50i pumps out 390kW from 5500-6000rpm and 750Nm from 1800-4600rpm, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.


The M50i engine will also be brought to the X7 flagship SUV range, joining the existing 30d and M50d.


Along with the new engines, all X5, X6 and X7 models except the X5 25d will be offered with 3500kg braked towing capacity from the factory thanks to the fitment of the same towbar package found on US versions.


Raising braked towing capacity from 2700kg in the previous generation, the new limit matches the capacity of other well-regarded tow rigs such as the Toyota LandCruiser and a range of pick-ups, and BMW believes it will help it tap into the market of grey nomads looking to tow a trailer around the country.


Headlining the X3 and X4 mid-size SUV ranges that landed in Australia in late 2017 and early 2018 respectively, their first-ever full-blown M variants will touch down in August, which Mr Michel said will help boost X3 sales after sliding 14.4 per cent in the year to date.


“Volume-wise, we’ll be putting up our hand for as many as we can get,” he said.


“We envisage that is going to be very popular for us. If you look at the premium mid-size SUV segment, it’s probably been one of the fastest-growing segments in the country in the past three or four years.


“For us to now have a high-performance model – I know we’ve had the M40is but not a real, proper M car in that segment – we’ve got a pretty good opportunity in Australia.”


As reported, the two-variant 3 Series range will be expanded in the fourth quarter with the arrival of the entry-level 320i, 330e plug-in hybrid and (for now) range-topping M340i xDrive, while the Touring wagon body style will arrive in Australia with one grade, the 190kW/400Nm turbo-petrol 330i.


The all-new 1 Series hatch, based on BMW’s front-drive architecture, is also set to arrive in the fourth quarter with two petrol variants – the entry-grade 118i and all-paw M135i, which uses the same 225kW/450Nm 2.0-litre engine as the X2 M35i.


An update for the X1 small SUV will arrive before year’s end, with Mr Michel ruling out an M-fettled X1 35i variant to sit alongside the X2 version. It seems BMW fans will have to wait until the next generation arrives in a few years.


Lastly, the flagship 8 Series coupe and convertible ranges will be bolstered by the addition of the four-door Gran Coupe body style, while the monster M8 variant will join the line-up in 2020.

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