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by Tim Beissmann

BMW’s chief engineer is hopeful of launching a successor to the BMW Z4 before 2020 despite global demand for two-seat sports cars declining.

Asked at last week’s Geneva motor show about the timing of the replacement of the almost-seven-year-old, second-generation Z4, BMW development boss Klaus Froehlich told Automotive News Europe he would “like to see a Z4 successor in this decade”.

BMW Z4 sales declined more than 10 per cent in about Europe and the US last year, dipping to just 5300 and 2150 units respectively.

BMW sold just 83 Z4s in Australia in 2014, down 13 per cent on the previous year.

BMW-Z4-Roadster-2

Froehlich suggested Europe’s weakened economy and next to no demand for convertibles in the world’s largest new vehicle market, China – where customers prioritise privacy and spaciousness in vehicles and where air quality in many cities is also an issue – means the development of a Z4 successor is not high on the brand’s list of priorities.

“If you look at the volume … we have to realise that these segments are shrinking,” he said.

“[Motorists in China] are not interested in roadsters.”

Development costs of a Z4 successor, which could be called the BMW Z5, would likely be shared with Toyota as part of the collaboration deal that exists between the two car makers that includes the creation of a shared sports car architecture, electrification technologies and lightweight materials.




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