BMW Has Finally Found a Niche It Won’t Fill: Pickup Trucks
For anyone who was wondering if BMW would follow in Mercedes-Benz’s footsteps and produce a pickup truck, Hendrik von Kuenheim, BMW’s senior vice president of Asia, the Pacific, and South Africa, has confirmed that the company has no intentions of doing so.
“Definitely not, because this does not fit to our genes and our culture,” Von Kuenheim told several members of Australia’s press.
BMW does recognize that trucks can be very profitable, but it also believes that building a truck would move the company too far away from its principles.
“There is huge potential in pick-ups. In North America you look at the Ford F-150 pick-up it is the best-selling car. You can do it but then you cannot be BMW. You have to be a different company, but this company is not ready to change from the ultimate driving machine and the ultimate successful company in luxury to a mass manufacturer who goes after the volume of pick-up trucks.”
Building a pickup truck wouldn’t be the first time BMW departed from tradition though. As a longtime manufacturer of sports sedans, introducing an SUV was a huge departure from form. It still worked, though, and the X5 has been an incredibly successful vehicle for BMW. In fact, it’s been so popular that BMW has already introduced the smaller X3 and X1, and it’s set to introduce an even larger X7 soon. According to von Kuenheim, it wasn’t as much of a departure as some people might have thought.
“We said ‘when we do this car it needs to drive like a BMW’ and the first-generation E53 X5 was a brilliant car and we put all the BMW genes in that. A BMW X5 M is still very much a BMW, but a pick-up by functionality because it is a utility vehicle that I suppose you would load sheep in Australia… is that what you would like to see from BMW? I don’t think so.”
BMW could always change its mind in the future, but it appears, at least for now, that anyone with dreams of a BMW pickup truck or sport ute will have to turn to an aftermarket company for the work. As a huge fan of both BMWs and sporty utes, there’s a little part of me that would love to at least see BMW add a truck bed to what was a 5 Series wagon, but if I’m being completely honest, it’s probably better that BMW recognizes its limits.
Mercedes-Benz, after all, has a very successful van division and sells all kinds of commercial vehicles. The typical S-Class buyer probably won’t be interested in owning a pickup truck from the same brand, but someone who uses a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter for work might be interested in owning a Mercedes pickup. BMW, on the other hand, doesn’t have the same history of building and selling those kinds of vehicles. It may sell SUVs, but nobody has proven yet that a German luxury brand can break into the American luxury truck market that’s currently dominated by trucks like the GMC Sierra Denali and the Ford F-150 King Ranch.
It’s also encouraging to see that BMW has no intention of attempting to sell a vehicle in every single conceivable micro-niche. Currently, there are 25 models in BMW’s lineup and so many similar models, you can’t help but find some of them redundant. The 3 Series is a sedan, and the 4 Series is the coupe version of the 3 Series sedan, but there’s also a sedan version of the 4 Series called the 4 Series Gran Coupe. The 3 Series also comes in five-door called the 3 Series Sports Wagon, but it also comes in another five-door version called the 3 Series Gran Turismo. Once you start throwing in convertibles and M-versions, it gets even more confusing.
Considering how many micro-niches BMW is currently pursuing with its lineup, the fact that no truck or truck-like variants will be coming from BMW is very good news. If BMW had plans of building a truck too, who knows where it would stop? A BMW minivan? I would hope not, but it’s no crazier than the idea of a BMW pickup truck.