Fleet News

Lower medium BMW set for UK launch in 2004

COMPANY car drivers will be able to get behind the wheel of a BMW for between £12,000 and £13,000 when the German premium manufacturer launches its all-new small car in 2004. And BMW AG chairman Dr Joachim Milberg told Fleet NewsNet that the company's future was as an independent manufacturer investing in its product portfolio of BMW as its core brand with MINI and Rolls-Royce at the lower and upper end of its premium brand strategy.

Last year BMW sold more than 822,000 vehicles worldwide - more than 9% up year-on-year and the best year in the history of BMW. The X5 series of off-road vehicles had a 'bright future', said Milberg as he unveiled the X5 HP powered by a 4.6-litre 347bhp V8 engine delivering a 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 149mph which will go on sale in the UK at the end of the year. It will slot in above the existing 4.4-litre 282bhp V8-powered model.

And the arrival of a lower medium sector BMW in 2004 would, said Milberg, reflect individuality although he declined to confirm speculation that it would be called the 2-series. With the small car extending the BMW range at the entry-level and the growing X5 family taking the brand into sports activity vehicle domains, coupled with the imminent arrival of MINI, which debuted in North America at the Detroit Motor Show, and the launch of the Rolls-Royce brand under BMW's control in 2003, Milberg said: 'We plan to sell far more than one million cars worldwide in a few years' time.

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