BMW’s Pickup: Opportunities Await
This week, BMW took the wraps off its most current 5 Series in Italy. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the 8th gen of this series has long been an intrinsic part of the brand. With the recent unveiling of the revolutionary all-electric BMW i5 and conventional combustion 5 Series, the 5 Series is set to be a core model for BMW for years to come. Meanwhile, the auto maker has also committed to creating different vehicle segments further down the line.
At a roundtable symposium with the main designer of BMW Domagoj Docker, at the luxurious Villa D’Este, he divulged that BMW are looking into adding new vehicle segments to their selection, including even pickup trucks.
“Ever since I joined BMW, I have been constantly asked about the possibility of a BMW pickup,” Dukec revealed. “It’s clear that there is a need for something like this in the market, and we are currently exploring the idea of introducing a pickup to our lineup.” He continued, “We believe that a BMW pickup truck would be an exciting addition to our range of vehicles, and would offer a great blend of style, performance and practicality.”
Cracking the premium truck segment is not an easy task. Just ask Mercedes to understand.
Mercedes’ attempt at a luxury pickup, the X-Class, was met with much fanfare when it debuted in 2017. Yet, BMW’s assessment of the vehicle at the time was that it was “a disappointment.” Unfortunately, these words proved to be true as the X-Class was quickly taken off the market a few years later.
In 2018, BMW made the decision to not construct a truck due to its limited profitability across only a handful of geographical areas. Nonetheless, things have shifted and changed since then.
The United States has the Rivian R1T, and popular companies have intensified their pick-up truck offerings, such as the Toyota Tundra Capstone, GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate, and Ford’s F-150 Lightning Platinum.
“It was always our assumption that a luxury truck would be restricted to the US market,” said Dukec. “But it looks like this could be changing.”
It appears to be a good moment for BMW to reconsider their approach to this specific area.
“The SAV segment is on the rise, and as a car manufacturer, you can’t ignore this trend. ‘The SAV segment is anyway growing [and as a carmaker], you’re looking at this, definitely,’ said one industry expert.”
It has been conjectured that, post collaborating with Toyota on the new Z4/Supra range, BMW might consider constructing a pickup truck based on the Tacoma and utilising their TNGA-F modular platform. However, BMW have declared badge engineering to be an ineligible course of action.
BMW yearned for a truck that replicates their signature driving experience. Mercedes discovered first-hand how hard this task is with the X-Class, being deemed disappointing from those who took it for a spin.
In 2019, BMW crafted an X7-based pickup truck; yet, we assume that once the X5 goes electric, a battery-powered version of the truck will become a reality.