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The Future of BMW: 1 Series, Two New Crossovers for U.S.

BMW has a new CEO and he isn’t shy about discussing future products. In the ultra-secretive world that is the automotive industry, we don’t get candid Q&A’s from executives too often, but AutoWeek scored a good one with new BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer. Reithofer used to head up BMW’s U.S. production in South Carolina, so he has a pulse on the American market.

What exactly did he say? Well, for one thing the U.S. will see future 1 Series models. The 1 Series is currently on sale in Europe as a hatchback (shown here). Reithofer says the U.S. will not get a hatchback, though; look for a 1 Series sedan, coupe and wagon instead. The 1 Series could be a huge hit in the U.S. as a successor to the classic BMW 2002.

The other news is that the South Carolina plant will add a new crossover vehicle in 2008 that will be built alongside the X5 SUV. Reithofer calls it a “so-called SAV coupe.” We don’t know what that means either, but the term SAV — Sport Activity Vehicle — is what they use for the X3.

A second crossover is in the works, but the CEO was much more vague about that. All he would say is that it won’t be a luxury minivan like the Mercedes-Benz R-Class.

It’s always fun to speculate about what will be on the roads in the future, and now we know a lot more than we did yesterday.

[Interview With Norbert Reithofer, AutoWeek]

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