BMW Australia says that it has some catching up to do in order to properly take on the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Audi A3 in the small luxury car segment.
Speaking to the media at the launch of the 2015 BMW 1 Series, BMW Australia’s head of product and market planning, Shawn Ticehurst, admitted there’s “some ground to catchup” with the updated 1 Series.
Year to date (Jan-May 2015), the Audi A3 has managed an impressive 1,945 sales for a 27.5 percent marketshare of the small car segment above $40,000 while the Mercedes-Benz A-Class sits at 1,754 sales (25 percent). In comparison, the outgoing BMW 1 Series has managed just 757 sales (10.8 percent), which even when coupled to the BMW 2 Series (823 - 11.7 percent) still ranks below its rivals.
According to BMW Australia CEO, Marc Heinrich Werner, a bronze medal in the segment is not what the company is after.
“Being number three is definitely not the place we want to be.” Werner told CarAdvice.
The change in strategy will see BMW offer more value across the 1 Series range.
“As you know Mercedes launched the A-Class a couple of years ago at a very, very aggressively repositioned price and we didn’t follow that, however we do certainly see that the market is moving in that direction as far as A-Class, 1 Series and A3 are concerned and we actually want to increase our footprint in that particular segment, that’s the strategy.”
BMW Australia will take a particular focus on the new 118i and 120i in order to gain some ground on the runaway sales lead of its two German rivals.
According to Werner the 1 Series’ renewed appeal will come from its aggressively priced and packaged variants with the added bonus and unique selling point of utilising a rear-wheel drive architecture.
“That certainly helps in order to position the car. The 1 Series is an absolute success not only world wide but also [in] Australia. Very truly it’s the ultimate driving machine in this particular segment, we certainly have a unique selling proposition over and above our German rivals because it actually comes with rear-wheel drive and that really set us apart from all the others. So it drives then like a true BMW, as it should.”
Read our 2015 BMW 1 Series Review.