German producer BMW has slammed its leader rival’s efforts within the application marketplace as appalling and disappointing, whilst additionally confirming it too has studied the theory of manufacturing its very personal mild application automobile.
Speaking to Australian media at the Frankfurt motor display the previous day, Hendrik von Kuenheim, senior vice chairman of the corporate’s Asia, Pacific and South Africa area – the place he additionally oversees the Australian marketplace – stated he anticipated extra from Mercedes-Benz.
“When you look now at our German competitor from Stuttgart, I think that [X-Class] product is appalling. You would have expected something more serious, this is for me… very cheap, very plastic, not very much Mercedes-like,” von Kuenheim stated.
“I saw that car in Geneva [motor show] and I was very disappointed. They can do better. They build fantastic cars but this one was a disappointment.”
The Mercedes-Benz X-Class, which stocks its structure with the Nissan Navara, was once the German model’s first access into the sunshine pick-up marketplace – even supposing, in contrast to BMW, it has an overly sturdy presence within the trucking scene.
Despite his criticisms of the X-Class, von Kuenheim admits the marketplace has now shifted sufficient that development a ute is not a picture factor for BMW, similar to the way it controversially entered the SUV phase a few years in the past as some of the first avid gamers.
“The basic query is now segments, how are the segments growing. I have in mind heated discussions twenty-something years in the past when, [we said] ‘does an SUV fit to a BMW [brand]?’
“Now we've got an X1, X2, X3, five, 6, X7 and who is aware of what else is coming? So the marketplace and buyer call for is converting.
Nonetheless, von Kuenheim feels BMW is now at a crossroads the place it has to believe its funding very properly, for it's at a tipping level of technological alternate each with electrical mobility and self sufficient using – so it can't decide to each alternative, even one as huge and doubtlessly winning as a ute.
“At the instant, producers make the cash within the vehicles, you spot. We want to proceed as producers to put money into diesel and petrol engines however we additionally want to put money into hybrid vehicles the place there's monumental engineering expense and we want to put money into electrical vehicles – which, when you have a look at Tesla, isn't in reality a lot of a benefit alternative.
“We want to put money into self sufficient using and gas cells, however we're [currently] earning money most effective on conventional petrol or diesel vehicles, so the monetary price of any corporate within the automotive trade this present day is unquestionably the best possible it's been within the remaining 100 years.
“Traditionally, we used to simply put money into diesel and petrol, however now we put money into the entire different sectors the place the flow of earnings is years and years away, so you want to prioritise your self.
“From all the priorities, the pick-up is maybe not number one or number two program.”
Above: a speculative BMW pick-up rendering, via Rain Prisk
Though it might not be on the very best of the concern listing, von Kuenheim admitted that BMW Australia boss, Marc Werner, is pushing the German model for a ute.
“Mark is working for this very hard, and my team is fighting for this very hard. My team made a phone cover to remind me what is the priority in my region – there is a [photo of a] pick-up on my phone cover, just to remember: when I talk to the board, these are my priorities.”
The factor appears to be that the medium-sized ute marketplace is proscribed to international locations akin to Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Brazil and South Africa, with North Americans who prefer the bigger utes and Europe having no love for the sunshine application in anyway.
“In all honesty, there's no pick-up marketplace in Europe. If you have a look at the VW Amarok, it has horrible gross sales and there are… we've got many extra segments to discover the place there could also be for the Australian buyer, fulfilling winning trade [before the ute].
“Priority for pickup, maybe it’s not number one because of the enormous challenges the whole motor industry has [for the moment]. There are, however, a lot of people at BMW that say ‘before I retire I would like to have a pick-up to take into retirement’… For Australia it is important, no question about that, I acknowledge that very clear.”
For now BMW stays dedicated to its core model in addition to its cutting edge i sub-brand that seeks to carry mainstream electrification to the luxurious phase.
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X-Class ute ‘disappointing’, Mercedes can do better