Sport model to enhance 3-series ED's appeal
02 July 2015
BMW is introducing a new Sport variant to its 320d Efficient Dynamics line-up to help expand the model mix, as well as offering a low-emission 3-series without the aero wheels that can put some customers off.
Only available with the automatic transmission, the ED Sport costs £500 more than the ED+ automatic model, although BMW is expecting a residual value uplift that would negate £350 of that thanks to the appeal of larger alloys, sports external styling cues, sports seats and different trim.
Available on 17-, 18- or 19-inch wheels, the ED Sport's emissions come in at 104g/km, 108g/km and 109g/km, compared with the regular ED+'s 99g/km due to its smaller 16-inch aerodynamic wheels. The company claims an ED Sport with 19-inch wheels can match the emissions of any equivalent power rival on smaller 17-inch alloys.
Residual value providers had previously expressed worries about the popularity of BMW's 320d Efficient Dynamics and the quantity of similar models coming onto the used market.
"We're conscious of the car's success and not having too many of the same vehicle," BMW's rental and whole-life costs operations manager Lee Connolly told BusinessCar. "The car is an incredible success, so to protect the model mix and for people who felt ED was what they needed but wanted Sport or M-sport trim, this now ticks the box for them. We had a lot of feedback from customers that they wanted a low-CO2 car but didn't want to compromise."
The firm is predicting at least 60% of 320d ED customers will plump for the Sport model.
BMW is also moving to capitalise on the surprise popularity of its Active Tourer model, having registered 8000 since the car's launch last year, double the predicted amount.
The 20 cars on its corporate demo fleet will be at least doubled to get to 40-50, and general product manager, small cars, Steve Roberts explained that the 2-series Active Tourer, and its Gran Tourer sibling, have an important part to play in customer retention:"We know a big reason people leave the 1-, 2- and 3-series range is that we don't have a vehicle that meets their needs. We spend a lot of money getting people into our cars and then they have nowhere to go when their circumstances change. We know one of the main reasons to leave BMW is that we don't offer a family type of car."
BMW is expecting a record year in the UK for 2015, with growth coming from its myriad niche models including the 2-series Gran Tourer and Active Tourer, 3-series GT, 4-series Gran Coupe, X4 and X6.