U.S. market is crucial for BMW's performance division. New M division chief says he's confident that the upcoming X5 M and X6 M models will sell well. Both models go on sale in the U.S. on September 7. No plans for an M7, though.
M is for meaning. As in, BMW doesn't just stiffen the chassis, pump up the volume on the horsepower and slap an M badge on a standard production car.
Kay Segler took over at the helm of BMW's performance division back in May. In an interview with Automotive News, Segler, 54, says he's confident that the upcoming X5 M and X6 M models will sell well, despite a very depressed automobile market.
But Segler says the Bavarian brand has axed any plans for an M7 model, claiming the all-wheel drive 760 does enough to fulfill the market.
Segler was moved into the position as head of BMW's M division after having managed the automaker's Mini brand for 5 years. In the interview, he addresses the issue of falling sales and the importance of the U.S. market for the M division. U.S. Sales for the M division were 9,738 out of a total of 24,186 M vehicles sold around the world by BMW in 2008. But sales for the first half of 2009 were just under 3,000 units in the United States.
He also described the essence of what he believes an M model is.
"We don't just give it more horsepower and make the chassis a little stiffer. If you look at the M3, it's on the upper limit of how much we change. 75 to 80 percent is modified."
The X5 and X6 M models go on sale in the U.S. on September 7.