BMW is one of the brands that got in early and popularised the luxury SUV craze with its original X5. Sadly for BMW, by the time it tried to repeat that success in the compact luxury SUV market, the competition was a whole lot stiffer.
Rather than stay behind though, BMW has pushed the development of the second generation X3 forward to tackle the likes of Audi’s Q5 and Mercedes’ GLK. As with the X5 before it, the new X3 grows in size to offer better value for money, as well as allowing the coming X1 to slot into the range beneath it.
The information comes from the President of BMW North America, Jim O’Donnell, in an interview with Automotive News.
This time around, X3 production will be moved from Europe and will join the X5 and X6 in being built at BMW’s North American plant in South Carolina. Moving production means that the SUV-obsessed US market will now be able to buy the X3 for around the same money as the current model, despite its larger size and added equipment.
BMW is also well aware that the current market forces aren’t conducive to moving metal. While the X3 sold around 18,000 units in the US last year, this year's prediction is for around a third of that volume.
Rather than letting the current X3 fall further behind its newer rivals, BMW has pushed the on-sale date to early next year, cutting the model cycle for the current car short by a couple of years.
The additional size of the new X3 also pushes it up to dimensions similar to the original X5, which will allow a clearer definition between the X3 and the coming X1 that will eventually slot in below it.