German carmakers love to copy each other, but sometimes one member of that elite group makes a move that the others simply won’t follow.
Mercedes-Benz got quite a bit of buzz back in March when it announced it would build a pickup truck, but one of its competitors is already saying “nein” to a rival product.
There’s no way BMW will ever build a pickup truck, confirmed executive Hendrik von Kuenheim, while speaking to Motoring at a recent gathering of Australian car media in Melbourne.
Such a vehicle would not “fit to our genes and our culture,” von Kuenheim said, and to be fair, he’s got a point.
Even in an age where Lamborghini is gung-ho about building an SUV, and Hyundai is selling a $61,000 luxury sedan, a BMW pickup is a bit of a stretch. The company doesn’t build any body-on-frame trucks, and it’s stayed resolutely within the luxury segment for decades.
That’s in contrast to Mercedes, which has plenty of truck experience, including with commercial vehicles. It’s also used to selling vehicles at a wider range of price points; just look at the Metris van or the E-Class taxis that populate the streets of German cities. And none of this has harmed Mercedes reputation in the luxury field.
Of course, BMW has built at least one pickup before. Back in 2011, it unveiled an M3 pickup as an April Fool’s joke, and even flogged it on the Nüburgring. That was never intended for production, though.
And while von Kuenheim acknowledged the massive sales vehicles like the Ford F-150 generate in the U.S., he was adamant that a truck just isn’t the right fit for BMW. These days, though, that kind of sentiment is becoming rarer.
It’s important for carmakers to maintain their distinct identities, but whereas in the past that meant only producing certain types of vehicles, today it is becoming increasingly unusual for a company to completely write off a potentially profitable market segment.
It’s always fun to see carmakers expand beyond their comfort zones, but it’s also hard to blame BMW for sticking with what it knows.