Ian Robertson, BMW board member for sales and Marketing, has confirmed that the new UKL1 front and four-wheel drive platform will underpin 11 new models, spanning the BMW and MINI brands. This time last year Robertson claimed up to 20 models were under consideration, but it appears only 11 have been approved at this stage.
The new MINI, revealed last month, will be the first model to benefit from the new platform, but Robertson confirmed the UKL1 BMW will be revealed early next year. "The Active Tourer will be the first front-wheel drive BMW, the first to use a three-cylinder engine and you'll see it at a motor show early next year," Robertson revealed. "You've seen the concept, and the actual car is extremely close."
"Don't forget we already sell 300,000 MINIs a year and 200,000 1 Series, so we're already experienced in small cars," he added.
As many as eight model lines of the new MINI are expected, including three and five-door hatchbacks and replacements for the Cabriolet, Clubman, Countryman and Paceman. A sporty MINI MX-5 rival, to replace the slow-selling Roadster and Coupe models, is also planned along with an MPV and a saloon for the Chinese market.
In the BMW product plan are five and seven-seat versions of the 2 Series Active Tourer MPV, a small SUV to sit below the X1 and rival the new Audi Q1, and possibly a supermini to compete with the Audi A1.
The BMW Group is enjoying a record year in 2013 with all three brands - MINI, BMW and Rolls Royce - on course for record sales figures. Up to the end of October a total of 1.6m units have been sold - that's eight per cent more than its previous best despite the European market contracting by around three per cent overall.