Now that Audi has launched the A3 sedan and Mercedes-Benz has the CLA-Class, German rival BMW is considering building a 1 Series sedan. According to Auto Express, a traditional three-box version of the newest 1 Series would help BMW make inroads in the Chinese market.
The Chinese market is, much like the American market, generally wary of hatchbacks, as buyers there prefer traditional sedans. That means BMW would struggle to sell its 1 Series hatchback (pictured) as an entry-level model in China. That reasoning explains why Audi has built a sedan version of the new 2014 A3 for both China and the U.S., even though the car is sold as a hatchback in Europe.The Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatchback sold in Europe begat the CLA-Class sedan for the same reason.
“BMW is never shy of new segments,” BMW sales and marketing chief Ian Robertson told Auto Express. He suggested that if a BMW 1 Series sedan isn’t approved, the company could consider building an entry-level sedan under the Mini brand. It is worth also noting that the next-generation MINI Cooper and future front-wheel drive BMWs – like the next 1 Series – will share the same platform. A small sedan would help the German brand increase its appeal to young Chinese drivers — the 3 Series is quite expensive and a 1 Series hatch would be received poorly.
BMW does plan to sell the new 2 Series coupe and convertible, which are based on the 1 Series hatchback, in the U.S. The 228i will have a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine with about 240 hp, while the M235i is expecting to have a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six with about 320 hp. The coupe goes into production this November and could go on sale Stateside by early 2014.
Source: Auto Express