A niche too far: BMW 3-Series GT to die
BMW was one of the first automakers of the modern era to start exploring new niches when it launched vehicles like the original X6 and 5-Series Gran Turismo.
While some of those niches have proven popular with buyers, others haven’t fared so well. One in particular not doing so well is BMW’s Gran Turismos, which were introduced to lure buyers looking for a higher seating position and extra space but weren’t interested in an SUV—specifically older types.
But with more of its buyers choosing an SUV over one of its Gran Turismos, BMW has decided to axe the 3-Series GT after the current model reaches the end of its cycle. BMW Group CEO Harald Krueger made the confirmation during a financial results presentation in Munich on Tuesday.
The decision is part of BMW Group’s efforts to save more than $13.4 billion by the end of 2022. Other measures include reducing vehicle development times by up to a third, namely via digital simulations replacing costly prototypes; improving synergies and efficiencies; and reducing the complexity in vehicles, including cutting the number of powertrains offered in each model line by up to a half.
2018 BMW 6-Series Gran Turismo
There was no mention of the larger 6-Series GT, which replaced the 5-Series GT and is now the last member of the 6-Series family, however it too will likely be phased out after the current cycle if demand for SUVs remains strong.
While it’s been rumored that BMW could introduce a new 4-Series GT to replace the 3-Series GT, given Krueger’s comments it looks like that is no longer the case. We also know that BMW plans to introduce an i4 electric car in 2021, and thanks to the extra space made possible by efficient packaging of electric powertrains the new i4 will likely fill the void left by the departing 3-Series GT.