I understand the logic behind the modern crossover, especially in Sweden.
Sweden’s 360,000 mile network of public and private roads is only 30-percent paved. That leaves some 252,000 miles of unpaved glory to explore. This high percentage of unpaved roads explains why Volvos have long had reasonable ground clearance, why the Swedes invented the headlamp wiper, why the XC70 exists and why Haldex was founded there.
The concept of the crossover is to give you the efficiency of a traditional “car” blended with some offroad ability normally found in a truck-based SUV. (Of course, the modern American crossover is little more than an all-wheel-drive minivan with less practical seats.) While other companies created boxy crossovers like the Highlander and CR-V, Volvo took a European approach by starting with a station wagon, adding all-wheel drive and jacking the ride height up to create the first V70 Cross Country. The result was more aerodynamic than an SUV, had the ride height of a crossover, the practicality of a station wagon and the driving position of a car. Hold that thought.
It’s only been on sale ten months. But those who hoped BMW wouldn’t be able to repeat the X6’s moderate levels of success will be disappointed to hear the BMW X4 just recorded its best U.S. sales month so far. 920 copies of the X4 were sold in April 2015,
April’s total was 89% better than the average monthly total from the first-quarter of this year. Moreover, April’s X4 U.S. sales total was 54% better than the total from the prior month, when the U.S. new vehicle market was 6% larger. Indeed, the X4’s April total of 920 units was 12% greater than the total achieved by BMW USA in December of last year, December being the month for luxury auto sales in America. (Read More…)
Lately, BMW has been accused of answering questions nobody was asking. Looking at things a different way, however, BMW has taken personalization of your daily driver to a level we haven’t seen before by making an incredible number of variations based on the same basic vehicle. Once upon a time, BMW made one roadster and three sedans. If you asked nicely, they would cut the top off the 3-Series, add a hatchback, or stretch it into a wagon. If you look at the family tree today you’d see that the 2-series coupé and convertible, X1, X3, X4, 3-Series sedan, long wheelbase sedan, and wagon, 3-Series GT and 4-Series coupé, convertible and gran coupé are all cousins. (Note: I didn’t say sisters, but they are all ultimately related.) That’s a product explosion of 400 percent since 1993 and we’re talking solely about the compact end of their lineup. You could look at this two ways. This is insanity, or this is some diabolical plan. Since sales have increased more than 300% since 1993, I’m going with diabolical plan.
BMW USA reported their first X4 sales in July 2014, 262 in all.
Former and even current BMW fans are apt to be disgusted by the notion of a less practical, more costly X3, particularly if those fans are in the large group of onlookers who also believe the X4 is the less stylish option, as well.
Yet while the X6 hasn’t become a high-volume product for BMW, it hasn’t had a negative impact on its X5 donor vehicle. Likewise, it’s unlikely that the X4 will eat into the X3’s volume, at least not to the extent that lost X3 sales won’t be made up by the additional X4s.
Of the 26,409 BMWs sold in the United States in July 2014, 23% were X models (not including xDrive variants of BMW passenger cars.) (Read More…)
Apparently this is a BMW X4, which is an X6-esque version of the not-yet-released 4-Series, which is the coupe version of the 3-Series. I have no idea what’s going on here. This segment is going to be big in the future, it’s an easy way for BMW to make money but I can’t even tell what’s what anymore. And it’s ugly.