The prototype is scheduled to continue testing until July. The first delivery to fleets and independent taxi owners begins in October. “We will start bringing vehicles in at a rapid pace from our Cuernavaca, Mexico, plant,” Joe Castelli says.
Ludwig Willisch is confident about BMW’s prospects this year. Besides overall U.S. market strength and “a nice influx of new models,” he expects a sales boost from a new 4-cyl. diesel engine in the 328d that debuts in August.
The auto maker has no long-range plan to become No.1 in North America, Senior Vice President Bob Carter says, citing its unwillingness to pump up fleet sales. But he would “love to be No.1” in retail deliveries.
BMW will eschew a technical argument in touting the new diesels’ fuel efficiency. “Our brand resonates, regardless of the fuel you use, as the ultimate driving machine,” the auto maker’s chief U.S. marketer says.
The major obstacle to using CNG is the relative scarcity of service stations where the fuel can be obtained. There now are 1,050 CNG refueling stations in the U.S., and the total is climbing 10% annually.
Steve Cannon’s surprising announcement comes a month after 2012 U.S. sales results were released by auto makers in early January. BMW sold 281,460 units compared with Mercedes’ 274,055, according to WardsAuto data.
Alfa Romeo, Bentley, Buick, Lincoln, Maserati, Mini and Subaru win their first Wards 10 Best Interiors trophies, while Honda, Lexus and Mazda return to the winners’ circle. Thirty-one nominees were evaluated....More