BMW has flat-out rejected the notion that it might follow the example of German rival Mercedes-Benz and its X Class pickup model. The company candidly admits it does not have the expertise or the resources to embark on such a venture with a hope of producing a credible product. At the same time, it’s out of the question that the company would borrow another manufacturer’s product and rebadge it as one of its own.
"We have no plans for it. Currently, in our product portfolio, there is no pickup truck, and we don't intend to plan for that, either."
- Vikram Pawah, head of BMW's Australian division, in interview with website GoAuto
Now, you might not think that a voice out of Australia is necessarily representative of the BMW mindset at large, but in reality there’s probably no market that could more use a BMW pickup than down under. So if they’re saying forget it, you can probably take it at face value.
In fact, it's not even the first time BMW officials have taken the trouble to declare the automaker won't go the pickup route any time soon, or ever.
What’s more, the Australian executive’s comments mirror those of BMW’s head of research and development, Klaus Fröhlich, who says that creating a true pickup would require a body-on-frame architecture, something the German automaker lacks. As hot as the pickup market is in countries lke the U.S. Australia and South Africa, it’s still a niche segment, and it has its share of luxury products already. In the view of BMW, making what would have to be a heavy investment simply doesn’t make sense.
A workaround would be to rebadge a product borrowed from another manufacturer, and in fact that’s the strategy of Mercedes-Benz with its X-Class, essentially a Nissan Navara in a tux. Here again, BMW’s Klaus Fröhlich shuts the door on that possibility. "We will never do badge-engineering," he said.