Is BMW going to make a pickup truck? If history is any indicator, there’s no need or desire for a luxury truck, but something interesting has happened.
In the past, the luxury truck segment was a huge failure, mostly because there was a huge gap between mainstream trucks and luxury vehicles. Even at the top trim levels, most pickup trucks were not equipped with the smooth driving characteristics associated with luxury vehicles. Today, we see most full-size trucks offered with top-end, near-luxury packaging. This new group of pickups closes the gap between mainstream and luxury vehicles, making it easy to imagine new trucks with luxury badging.
What if the new BMW pickup is an EV?
Other than the pickup truck market moving closer to the quality and features mostly reserved for luxury vehicles, new electric pickups are part of the market. The Rivian R1T and Tesla Cybertruck reach luxury levels of driving and quality. Additionally, GM released two new electric trucks priced at more than $100,000, which should put them at or near the luxury class. Could the EV market be where BMW breaks in with a pickup that can haul and carry gear while also driving smoothly?
How can BMW learn from previous failures?
Cadillac, Lincoln, and Mercedes-Benz have all offered pickup trucks in the past. In every instance, those trucks were abject failures. The greatest lesson BMW could learn is from Mercedes-Benz. In 2017, Mercedes partnered with Nissan to build the X-Class, which was a disappointment. The disappointing part was the Nissan platform, which made the X-Class drive like a truck and not like a Mercedes-Benz luxury vehicle. If we see a BMW pickup truck enter production, it will need to be a real truck but built with BMW driving qualities. This means in-house development for BMW.
A BMW team built a one-off truck
A few years ago, a team of BMW trainees built a one-off pickup for the Motorrad Days event. This truck was built using the X7 SUV platform, which could serve as an excellent foundation for a new truck. The X7 truck was 3.9 inches longer than the SUV and weighed 440 pounds less. Although BMW had no plans to build this truck, it gave us an idea of what this team could do if they want to enter the truck market. Unfortunately, the size might be all wrong for a BMW pickup.
Where can BMW enter the pickup truck market?
Although a pickup truck based on the X7 platform could be interesting, it might not be large enough. The X7 is the biggest BMW SUV in the lineup, but that only translates to a midsize truck. This would be similar to Honda using the Pilot as the basis for the Ridgeline. Unfortunately, the midsize truck class’s price range might not be high enough for a luxury truck. Unless BMW could build a truck that starts at less than $60,000, a luxury truck could once again be a failure.
Imagine a BMW pickup based on the X7
The BMW team made this imagining a reality a few years ago, but let’s consider the expected features and usefulness of this truck. Could a truck based on this SUV drive like a BMW? Of course, if the same platform is used and the pickup has a unibody construction. As long as BMW avoids traditional body-on-frame trucks, the brand could build a pickup that provides excellent driving manners. This could provide a new alternative to the traditional midsize trucks. Currently, the Honda Ridgeline is the only unibody truck in this class.
Is BMW planning to build a truck?
The Bavarian luxury brand continues to consider entering various new vehicle markets, and classes and trucks have been on the table in the past. This doesn’t mean we’ll ever see a BMW pickup go up against Ford, Chevy, GMC, and Ram trucks in America, but it’s not out of the realm of possibilities. It’s more likely a luxury truck from this brand could be a niche item and offered in markets where other truck names offer midsize pickups. Still, don’t put it past this brand to crack the code that is the premium pickup segment.
Will there ever be a BMW pickup truck? Don’t hold your breath. As many automakers have learned, the pickup truck market is a tough nut to crack. The Detroit Big Three have a stranglehold on this market in the United States, and the foreign markets are somewhat unpredictable. While it’s fun to think about a pickup truck wearing the BMW badge, we don’t expect it to become a reality.
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