BMW Delays Next-Gen X3 to Implement New Options, Engines

Waiting for the next-generation BMW X3? You may have to wait a little longer if you're living in North America, as the German automaker has pushed back the launch in order to implement a new ordering system.

According to Automotive News, the next-generation X3, which will be built in South Carolina alongside the X5 and X6, will go on sale in mid-2011, approximately six months after the car goes on sale in Europe. If this seems like a reversal from the norm, it is. U.S.-built BMWs have typically gone on sale in North America before they arrive in European markets.

The delay stems from BMW implementing a new customer order program for the X3 model. Although buyers can currently option any BMW model the way they want, most cars sitting on dealers lots aren't built to a specific customer's tastes. Further, if a buyer does want to order a car to spec, they have to lock in options months in advance.

The new program allows buyers to customize the order for their X3 to the nth degree, and further, it allows them to change options up to five days before the vehicle is built.

Jim O'Donnell, president of BMW North America, told Automotive News such a system had been investigated years ago, but was never implemented due to the inherent shipping delay.

"It is very difficult to do if you are producing cars in Europe and shipping them here," he said.

BMW will also launch the X3 with up to four different engine offerings, possibly including a four-cylinder, along with a four-cylinder diesel once hinted at by company executives. Doing so will further allow customers to tailor their X3 to their tastes (or budget).

Source: Automotive News

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