Watching BMW’s press conference at the Paris motor show, it was possible to think that the reveal of the seventh generation 3 Series was not a big deal in a changing global market, one where BMW has changed production of the 3 Series after decades in SA to the new X3. However, when the G20, the next generation 3 Series arrives in SA in March 2019, it will be as much a cornerstone of the brand as ever. “Ten years ago, the SUV market was more or less dead,” says Thomas Bauemer, head of project BMW 3 Series. “In 2008 we were thinking how long X5 will be around. “Every fifth BMW is a 3 Series sedan. The SUV market is growing but up to now we have sold 50-million 3 Series over the last 40 years and it is still a very important market for us,” says Bauemer. “It’s a huge segment,” says Stephan Horn, head of product management BMW 3 and 4 Series. “Even though in some countries, us coming from Germany, the sedan doesn’t play the role it played 20 years ago, but the Touring [station wagon] is...

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