BMW over the last several years has introduced new models for previously unexploited markets. This strategy began with the introduction of the X6; a vehicle that made an SAV into a coupe.
The X6 changed the playing field in what a crossover could be. The X6 gives up some functionality, practicality and creature carrying capacity for the sake of looks and sportiness. Practicality is not the X6 ‘s selling point. Dare I say it is a look at me vehicle? It made a 4 seat coupe into a soft roading behemoth- with the sportiness and performance still relatively intact. A small market for sure, but BMW saw a market and built a product.
BMW once again exploited an untapped market when it introduced the 5 Series Gran Turismo. Unlike the X6, the 5 GT is all about flexibility and practicality. With the ability to carry passengers in luxury and in a variety of configurations BMW created a vehicle that met the needs of a specific buying demographic. Where the X6 sacrifices practicality many feel the 5 GT sacrifices in looks and sportiness. With that being said, BMW has sold more than predicted and the market for such a vehicle exists.
With those two cases of BMW creating a car for a new market, why does BMW avoid competing in markets that already exist? BMW continues to not offer a small hot hatch in the US. There is definitely a market for such a vehicle, a larger market than that of the X6 or 5 GT. Sure in the US we have MINI, but they are not for everyone and for all those not interested in a MINI there is no BMW group choice.
Is it the market or has BMW shyed away from hatches because they do not produce one that is up to the competition? I wonder if it is the latter because as we all know there is a market- a small sporty hatch offered with a choice of petrol and diesel power. I predict if BMW builds it buyers will come.