TOKYO -- The redesigned X1 compact crossover is the smallest people carrier BMW will export to the United States, according to Peter Henrich, vice president of product management for compacts.
The second-generation all-wheel-drive X1 went on sale in the United States in late October. A front-wheel-drive version won't be sold here.
Henrich confirmed that BMW is considering a compact 1-series sedan primarily for the U.S. to compete with the Audi A3. The previous 1-series coupe and convertible, renamed the 2 series, are the smallest BMW cars sold in the United States. The redesigned 1-series hatchback is sold in other markets.
Both 2-series vehicles -- the Active Tourer and the Gran Tourer -- and the X1 are built on the BMW Group front- and rear-wheel-drive platform also used by Mini.
BMW learned the importance of size and design from the first-generation X1 that went on sale in 2009 but didn't come to the United States until the midcycle freshening in 2012, Henrich said.
Since the launch of the original X1, competitors including the Audi Q3 have jumped into the segment, intensifying the demand and BMW's determination to stay ahead, Henrich said in an interview last month at the Tokyo Motor Show.
The 2016 X1 has not gained length; in fact it is a half-inch shorter than the predecessor. But the height has increased by 2.5 inches. With the new group compact architecture, the engine moved to a transverse position, and "you gain a lot of interior room," Henrich said.
As for a possible 1-series sedan, Henrich said: "We have to find the balance between the customer demand and profitability on a worldwide level."