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BMW line-up sliced

The BMW Concept CS, if it goes into production, will have only three engine options.

The explosive growth of the BMW model range is about to be defused in Australia. The line-up is being trimmed to cut competition and duplication, making it easier for customers in showrooms.

The plan is to have only three choices of any individual model, with two petrol engines and one diesel. The current list includes 36 individual models in the 3 Series sedan line-up . . . without counting the coupe, convertible or station wagon.

“We get a lot of questions about whether we have too many models. I think we do have too many,” BMW Australia managing director Guenther Seemann says.

He believes BMW must cut the choices to streamline business, though he says there will still be all-new models in future — with the X6 four-wheel drive and M3 sedan up next — as the German company looks for customers.

The work has begun, though there are a dozen individual BMW lines, from the baby 1 Series to the four-wheel-drive X5 and flagship 7-Series, with 50 official engine choices. BMW has 189 individual models on the list.

“We've already begun tidying up. The 116i hatch has been removed from the range, there are the manuals in the 3 Series and one of the X3 manuals,” Seeman says.

“In the 5 Series range, one of the V8s will go. I believe for each and every model line-up in the future, as we add models, we need two petrol and one diesel variant in each case. No more. We have so many different model lines, it is not practical or possible to display them all in a showroom.

He says it will take time to get things sorted, partly because there are so many models.

“It will happen in the next two years. Globally, there are five petrol and five diesel engine choices. And that is just in the 3 Series range,” he says.

But there is definitely space for some additions, like the four-door M3 sedan.

“We are starting the business case. It looks good, I must say,” he says.

“We will bring the four-door version, but I do not know at what price. We always follow the normal BMW pattern, where a two-door is more expensive than a four-door. We have to price it lower than the M3 two-door.”