BMW AG will be busy in the 2004 timeframe, with a host of new additions planned, says Tom Purves, chairman and CEO of BMW of North America Inc.

Look for the smaller X3 companion to the X5 sport/utility vehicle (SUV) and a new coupe and convertible marking the return of the 6-Series — absent from the lineup since the late '80s.

Expecting increased U.S. sales, BMW is considering increased production as well.

Also planned is the new entry-level 1-Series car, starting about $20,000 (3-Series starts about $25,000) to connect with younger buyers.

The current focus is the introduction of the Mini — on sale in Europe in September and in the U.S. in March.

Pacing 18% above last year, U.S. sales should hit the 200,000 mark in 2001 and possibly 300,000 yearly in the long run by adding new products, says Mr. Purves.

As one of few remaining strong independent automakers, Mr. Purves admits BMW experienced growing pains from buying Britain's Rover Group (Rover cars, Land Rover SUVs, Mini cars).

“We struggled and lost money but learned from Rover — that we're very good at being a niche specialist, a boutique, and not a high-volume mass merchandiser of premium motor cars, and that it's more profitable to invest in what we do well than to put money into someone else who is in a difficult state,” he says.