BMW ditches slow-selling 3 Series GT
Hatch-coupé was a niche too far as buyers continue to flock to SUVs instead
Even for a company that specialises in specialist car niches, the quirky 3 Series Gran Turismo (GT) seemed like the answer to a question no one was asking.
This mishmash of a hatchback and coupé gave it ungainly styling that didn’t make it one of BMW’s most popular models and buyers didn’t seem to know quite where it fitted in.
Now the Bavarian car maker has decided to drop the car from its future line-up, with BMW Group CEO Harald Krueger announcing that the current 3 Series GT won’t be replaced when it comes to the end of its life cycle.
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Making the announcement at a financial results presentation in Munich on May 7, Krueger said the decision was part of BMW Group’s efforts to save more than $13.4bn by the end of 2022. Other measures include cutting the number of powertrains offered in each model line by up to a half.
The 3 Series GT, launched in 2013, hasn’t set the sales charts alight as buyers increasingly flock to SUVs. The car was already dropped from BMW SA’s local model line-up recently, along with the equally slow-selling 2 Series Active Tourer.
Krueger didn’t comment on the fate of the 6 Series GT, which was introduced in 2017 as the better-looking replacement for the 5 Series GT. For now it remains as the last member of the 6 Series family but it too may be phased out now that the 8 Series has arrived as BMW’s flagship sports model in coupé and cabriolet versions, with a gran coupé derivative to follow.
Though the 3 Series GT gets the chop, BMW’s product offensive has intensified with the recent launches of the Z4, the 8 Series, the X5, the X7, and the facelifted 7 Series. These will be followed later in 2019 by the new 1 Series in the compact class.
BMW’s electric-car range will be expanded with the addition of the iX3 from 2020 and the BMW i4 and iNext from 2021, and a fully-electric Mini later in 2019.
“By 2025, we will have at least 25 electrified vehicles in our line-up: 12 of them pure electric,” said Krueger.
He also said BMW is conducting further research into fuel cells with its partner Toyota. There is a growing move back to hydrogen fuel cell cars after the technology took a back seat to battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in recent years, with Audi also recently announcing a renewed interest in fuel cells.
“Over the long term, drive trains with hydrogen fuel cells will offer greater local emission-free range, with very short refuelling times,” said Krueger.
“These will complement our battery-electric vehicles. Every customer has different needs and every market different business conditions. We can only achieve the flexibility needed for fully sustainable mobility around the world by staying open to different technologies.”