It looks like the BMW X1’s U.S. debut has been delayed yet again. Having planned to introduce the small crossover to the U.S. market early this year, BMW has now decided to postpone the X1’s launch to the end of 2012. According to Automotive News, this decision was influenced by the success of the 2011 X3, which went on sale in January of this year.
Closer in size to the original X5, the 2011 X3 is substantially bigger than the previous generation — which, according to Jim O’Donnell, CEO of BMW North America, is part of the reason it has been so well-received by buyers. Selling 5710 units in the first quarter of 2011, the new X3 is already eclipsing the previous generation’s sales—which topped out at 6075 units total for all of last year. O’Donnell believes that BMW could sell as many as 25,000 X3s this year. The X1, on the other hand, was always planned to be a niche vehicle in the U.S., with BMW expecting less than 5000 sales annually.
The delay is also due in part to a shortage of X1s around the world thanks to its popularity in Europe and other markets (“it is very hot—and hot all over the world,” says O’Donnell). As a result, BMW’s management may end up diverting more units to China and Germany, where it’s already nothing short of a smashing success.
Luckily, the delay of the X1 doesn’t push back the introduction of BMW’s new turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4, since that engine is expected to make its first appearance in the Z4 this fall.
Souce: Automotive News (Subscription required)