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.
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.