Whenever one German automaker does something new, others will follow. For example, the BMW X6 caused Mercedes-Benz to launch the GLE-Coupe. Now with the launch of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class in certain markets, BMW's Australian office is pushing the main office for a pickup truck.
“We cannot close our eyes and neglect it, we cannot neglect market trends,” said Marc Werner, head of BMW Australia.
"We have been very pushy regarding utes or pick-ups, and we believe that this is something the company should be looking into. We have raised that with headquarters and certainly investigations are happening as we speak, but it’s too early to speak about the results of that analysis, but if there was a ute we would certainly take it.”
In Australia, pickups or utes as they are known is one fastest-growing segments in the country.
“If you look at the market, more than 150,000 Utes [were sold last year], out of 1.1 m cars overall and I think that that segment grew last year by 17 percent,” said Werner.
BMW building a ute really doesn't fit the image of the brand. But Werner disagrees, saying the similar arguments were given with the launch of the X5 in 1999. Now the X family of crossovers are some of BMWs most popular models.
“At the end of the day, we need to cater for what the customer and consumer want – and then the question is does it fit with the BMW DNA and BMW brand promise or are we over-stretching the brand, that is the core question that needs to be answered. But from a pure engineering perspective, everything is possible. The question is what does the brand stand for and how far you want to stretch it.”
If BMW decides to go forward with this idea, they could reach out to their alliance partner Toyota to use the Hilux truck as a base. Mercedes did the same as the X-Class is a reworked version of the Nissan Navara pickup.