LOS ANGELES -- BMW's first front-wheel-drive crossover, the Active Tourer, will go on sale in the United States in early 2015.
The Active Tourer will share a fwd architecture and new three- and four-cylinder engines with the next-generation Mini Cooper that debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show last week, said Ian Robertson, BMW AG's board member for sales and marketing.
The Active Tourer is expected to compete with the Mercedes-Benz GLA crossover, which goes on sale in the United States next September.
Robertson said the Active Tourer will be the first of several new fwd vehicles. "You will see BMW push into segments where we haven't been before," he said.
The Active Tourer also will come in a longer-wheelbase version with a third row of seats, Robertson said. The new BMW/Mini architecture also is designed for all-wheel drive.
Robertson did not give dimensions of the Active Tourer, but the show car is 171 inches long and 61 inches tall. For comparison, the rear-wheel-drive BMW X1 crossover is 176.5 inches long and 70.8 inches wide.
Robertson said BMW is looking to conquest buyers with the new platform.
"If I look at the first generation 1 series in 2004, 80 percent of the customers were new to the brand," he said.
The rear-wheel-drive compact 1 series, sold today only as a coupe and convertible in the United States, is expected to switch to the new platform in 2017. Insiders said a 1-series sedan will be developed, primarily for the United States and China.
Robertson said: "With the Active Tourer, we will get a lot of new customers again. They will come out of the premium segment and from some of the volume players."