Brand dilution is rampant, and all around us. Increasingly lines are getting blurred between segments and individual automakers. Sometimes, it makes sense for a company to expand appeal.
Other times, moves up and downmarket can dilute the very values that made a brand successful in the first place. Being all things to all people doesn’t always work. BMW has built one of the most valuable car companies in the world with the foundation of engaging rear-wheel drive vehicles.
You know, “The Ultimate Driving Machine”? Now, the company has expanded into many different segments. One place it hasn’t gone has been front-wheel drive, but that is about to change.
A front-wheel drive BMW? What makes a BMW a BMW if it is front-wheel drive? That question is becoming harder to answer. Autocar reports that the first FWD BMW will be a 1-Series Gran Turismo to arrive in 2014. The 5-Series GT was the first BMW to debut the GT moniker.
The GT moniker is perplexingly being applied to a new car/wagon/crossover hybrid lineup of vehicles. This is in addition to the the “X” lineup of crossovers, which we thought took care of these markets.
The new 1-Series GT will be based off a new FWD dubbed UKL1. This platform will underpin the next-generation Mini and a host other FWD models for BMW and MINI. It is expected that cars on the platform will total 600-800,000 units of volume.
We think BMW should leave downmarket models to MINI, but apparently that isn’t going to be the case. What isn’t clear is if the car will be sold in the United States or not – it is intended to compete with Audi’s A3, which doesn’t feature as a large seller here. The good news is that the bulk of the 1-Series lineup, including the coupe, convertible, hatchback and even a new traditional four-door, will remain RWD.