In a conference call earlier today regarding the company's interim report for the period ended 30 September 2010, Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG confirmed plans to offer the next generation of the 3-Series as well as the firm's upcoming front-wheel drive subcompact with hybrid powerplants.
"We will continue to update our model range," said Reithofer. "This includes other hybrid offerings such as the new BMW 5 Series Sedan with hybrid drive starting in 2011. The next generation of the BMW 3 Series will also include hybrid models."
The F30 3-Series, pictured here testing in prototype form, is expected to enter the market in 2012 first as a four-door sedan, with the Touring, Coupe and Convertible models to follow shortly after.
The Bavarian firm's next model will be an entry-level, front-wheel drive model in the supermini-segment. It will sit under the current 1-Series in BMW's lineup, meaning the latter could be renamed as the 2-Series.
"In the future, we intend to participate even more in the growth of the small car segment," said Reithofer. "This is why we are also planning to offer smaller BMW models – positioned below the BMW 3 Series – with front-wheel drive. These models with front-wheel drive will also be made available to our customers with a hybrid engine."
BMW plans to cooperate with the PSA Peugeot-Citroen Group for the development of the FWD Hybrid model's drivetrain components.
"Our cooperation is focused on developing and producing components for hybrid front-wheel drives. Additional economies of scale will be achieved by pooling certain purchasing activities. I am talking specifically about e-drives, generators, and power electronics that control the interaction between a battery and electric drive," Reithofer added.
The entry-level FWD series could make its market debut as early as 2012.