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First Drive: 2010 BMW X1 xDrive 20d

New plant, new car… new opportunities?

by on Oct.02, 2009

BMW hopes to score another success with the latest Sport-Activity Vehicle, the 2010 BMW X1.

BMW hopes to score another success with the latest Sport-Activity Vehicle, the 2010 BMW X1.

BMW has a way of pushing off into uncharted territory and coming back with a solid hit.  Remember the X5?  It was anything but a sure bet when the so-called “Sport Activity Vehicle” belatedly launched the automaker into the then-booming luxury SUV segment.  But it went on to become a solid success, with more than a million sold worldwide, so far.

Then came the downsized X3, and the more recent X6, each generating controversy, and eventually, plenty of sales, on their own.  All told, the various X models now account for nearly a fifth of BMW’s global sales.  And that could grow even larger with the launch of the smallest member of that expanding family, the 2010 BMW X1 xDrive 20d – which makes its entry into the European market on October 24th, though a U.S. introduction date is unclear.

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It’s been a bit of a rush job getting the X1 to market on time, and in this case that means BMW has shortened the development and preproduction time by 40% compared to prior X models. The Germans realized soon after the decision to build the X1 was made, in 2006, that speed was of the essence. Gas prices were shooting sky high and downsizing was a solution.  Though fuel prices may have fallen since last year, BMW still sees this as an urgent goal.

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