BMW 3-series convertible, coupe to become 4 series
BMW's redesigned 3-series coupe and convertible will be renamed the 4 series in an effort to create more exclusivity and command higher prices for the two-door cars.
The 4-series coupe is expected to go on sale in mid-2013, followed by the 4-series convertible in the fall.
They will be joined by the X4 crossover that goes into production in Spartanburg, S.C., late next year and hits U.S. showrooms in early 2014. BMW also markets a Z4 roadster.
BMW last week released photos of the Concept 4 Series Coupe, but did not provide more production or price details.
The Concept 4 Series Coupe will be introduced at the Detroit auto show in January, BMW says.
Paul Ferraiolo, head of product planning and strategy for BMW of North America, said the new nomenclature describes "the vehicle's substantial enhancement compared to the existing 3-series coupe."
"The name properly reflects the larger dimensions, bold styling and increased content built into the concept," he said.
The coupe and convertible each accounted for 15 percent -- or about 14,000 units apiece -- of the 3 series' U.S. sales of 94,371 last year, BMW said.
Through November, U.S. sales of the 3 series have increased 4 percent, to 88,857. The 3 series' peak sales were 142,490 in 2007.
BMW appears to be following the naming practices at rival Audi, which markets an A5 coupe and convertible positioned above the A4 sedan, and the A7 coupe above the A6 sedan. The A5 and A7 are priced considerably higher than the four-door models.
Mercedes-Benz is adopting a different strategy by rebadging its coupes and convertibles to become part of the sedan family as they are redesigned.
BMW hinted it will expand the pricing gap between the 3-series sedan and the new 4-series coupe and convertible.
"The 4 stands for greater sportiness, greater exclusivity and even clearer differentiation from the BMW 3-series range," BMW said in a statement.
Pricing on the 2013 BMW 3 series begins at $37,745 for the sedan, $39,595 for the coupe, and $48,495 for the convertible. Prices include shipping.
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