BMW is confident its U.S. sales will continue expanding in 2016 even as the overall market reaches a phase of little or no growth.
The auto maker will has a new X1 model rolling out in the hot small-crossover segment and a fully redesigned 7 series large sedan to push sales higher, Ludwig Willisch, CEO of BMW North America said in an interview at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Dealers are "really, really, really motivated by the X1 and our flagship 7 series and they will generate interest for the BMW brand" Willisch said. "We are vey optimistic about next year."
He added that the X1, offering more space and improved styling over the previous version, "absolutely is expected to outsell its predecessor."
The challenge for all automakers, he noted, is that the U.S. market is near its peak, and industry sales are likely to only growth at slow pace next year. Moreover, sales are skewing more and more toward trucks.
As a result, the brands that will continue to grow in this environment will be those that have new models and ample supply in the hot segments, he said.
"It will be supply driven," he said.
Here in Los Angeles, the German luxury maker is highlighting a new limited-edition model, the 2016 M4 GTS sports coupe, a track car aimed at high-net worth car collectors and driving enthusiasts.
BMW plans to import only 300 from Germany and expects to sell out of them fairly quickly.
Also on display are the 330e electric hybrid that has a total range of 373 miles and a zero to 60 speed of just under six seconds. It will be available in the spring.
The M4 GTS, also due this spring, is powered by a 6.0-liter V8 engine rated at 493 horsepower -- about 40 more than the standard M4 model. The increase comes from a system that uses water to cool fuel as it is injected into the combustion chamber. This allows more fuel, and energy, to be compressed into the cylinder, increasing power.
The car, which just made its global debut at the Tokyo auto show, is loaded with other advanced components and is mainly intended for track driving -- it comes with a roll cage. It is priced at $134,000.
In the past BMW had restricted sales of limited-run models mainly to Europe because it was costly to modify a small number of cars to meet U.S. crash and emissions standards.
But the 4 Series and its M4 variant were engineered from the beginning to be sold in the U.S. market, Willisch said.