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BMW Reveals Array of New Models

Focus is on performance.

by on Apr.17, 2014

BMW board member Ian Robertson behind the wheel of the new M4 Convertible.

With nearly 60 different products making their U.S. or global debut at this year’s New York Auto Show, nearly every major automaker – and quite a few smaller ones – has something to show off this month.

But BMW has a disproportionate presence on the list, with the Bavarian automaker putting a particular emphasis on performance.  But the maker is also giving a hint as to its possible plans to roll out a battery-based version of its big X5 Sport Activity Vehicle.

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“This is a year for BMW to set significant milestones,” said Ian Robertson, the BMW board member overseeing global sales. It’s already pulled off one, delivering a record 487,000 vehicles during the first quarter of the year worldwide, and the company – which includes brands BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce — is “aiming for a significant increase to a record of over 2 million” vehicles for all of 2014.


BMW Reveals New X4 SAV

Downsized X6 to debut at NY Auto Show.

by on Mar.06, 2014

BMW adds another Sports Activity Vehicle to its line-up, the new X4 Sports Activity Coupe.

If you’re having a hard time keeping up with all the SAVs, GTs, Gran Coupes and Active Tourers, here’s a spoiler alert: the BMW line-up is about to get bigger still.

Barely had we finished writing about the maker’s Geneva Motor Show additions, including the new 2-Series Active Tourer, before we received an e-mail advising us of yet another debut, this one the Bavarian maker’s latest Sports Activity Coupe, the X4.

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Think of it as a downsized version of the X6 and, as BMW has changed the definition, this Coupe actually has four doors.  Make that five with the big rear hatch.

We’ll have to wait until next month’s New York Auto Show to see this one in the sheet metal – which may give us a chance to digest all the other recent BMW offerings.  But here’s what the maker is telling us ahead of time.


Chinese Auto Market Could Soon be Larger than US, Europe Combined

But skeptics warn China's boom could go bust.

by on Apr.22, 2013

The Buick Riviera Concept.

Ford and General Motors are charging forward into the past this week at the Shanghai Auto Show, reviving two once-familiar nameplates in a bid to build market share in what has become the world’s largest automotive market.

The Ford Escort and Buick Riviera are just concept vehicles for now, but both offer hints of what the two U.S. manufacturers may have in store for Chinese consumers.  Indeed, once little more than a backwater event, the Shanghai gathering is this year one of the world’s most significant car shows, with dozens of new vehicles making their global debut there.

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And for good reason – by at least one estimate, the Chinese automotive market could soon be larger than the U.S. and European markets combined. By 2022, forecast senior GM officials, sales in the People’s Republic could top 35 million annually. That’s more than double the peak hit in the American market nearly a decade ago.

No surprise, then, that Tim Lee, the president of GM’s International Operations, told reporters that, “No market is more critical than the China market for us.”


(Almost) Official First Shots of BMW X4

Images leak ahead of Shanghai Auto Show debut.

by on Apr.04, 2013

One of a handful of BMW X4 images that have leaked out ahead of the official Shanghai debut.

BMW seems to be averse to leaving open any white space – or alphanumeric combinations – it seems, with all manner of new product filling in the gaps.

And so, with the replacement for the 3-Series Coupe and Convertible being rebadged the new 4-Series, the German maker had to come up with the coupe/crossover X4, as well. Long expected to debut later this month at Auto China 2013 in Shanghai, these images we found leaking out across the web appear to be the real thing – just a little earlier than BMW had apparently planned.

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The downsized version of the familiar X6 maintains the controversial, coupe-like roofline of the larger Sports Activity Vehicle but shares the same basic mechanicals as the smaller BMW X3.  The front and rear also adopt some of the basic design cues of the latest-generation 3-Series sedan, though there’s a fair bit more chrome here, tweaking out the distinctive new bumpers.


Big Expansion at BMW, Daimler Plants in Carolinas

Spartanburg set to become BMW’s second-largest line.

by on Jan.13, 2012

The BMW plant in Spartanburg will undergo yet another expansion - and get the new X4.

The U.S. auto industry continues to be one of the drivers of the American job market – in this case, thanks to German manufacturers BMW and Daimler AG.

The two plan to add more than 1,500 jobs at factories in the Carolinas, the expansion at BMW potentially making its factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina its second-largest.  It is already this country’s largest exporter of automotive products to markets outside of the NAFTA region.

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Daimler Trucks North America announced the addition of a second shift and plans to ramp up production at its Freightliner Truck Manufacturing Plant in Cleveland, North Carolina, creating more than 1,100 new jobs by the end of 2012. The additional workers represent a 72% increase in personnel at the plant and will include approximately 1,072 shop employees and an additional 29 engineering and support positions, the company said in statement.


BMW, Porsche Preparing Downsized Coupe/Crossovers

But Porsche product review could delay new Cajun.

by on Oct.14, 2010

A hint of what the BMW X4 could look like in production trim? A concept version is due in 2011.

How many models is too many?  While proliferation in the luxury car market has been intense in recent years, it looks like the high-line German marques are only beginning.

Both BMW and Porsche are well underway with the development of downsized crossover coupes that could hit market in the next couple years, according to media reports and company insiders – though Porsche’s new Cajun project is at least temporarily on hold.

The BMW offering has been dubbed the X4, and is sportier, coupe-bodied counterpart to the new 2011 X3 – or, if you prefer, a downsized alternative to the big BMW X6 coupe/crossover.

It will be offered with various 4- and 6-cylinder offerings, and probably a mix of gas and diesel powertrains for Europe.  Gearboxes will include BMW’s new 8-speed automatic.  All-wheel-drive appears likely to be the only torque delivery system on the planning books.

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An X3 M version of the 4-seat coupe/crossover is also under development, according to reports in AutoWeek and several other media outlets.

Word of the X4 has been circulating for at least two years but BMW apparently has given the project the go-ahead and a concept version is expected to surface on the auto show circuit sometime in 2011.