NEW YORK -- BMW will sell two versions of its new X7 crossover -- the already-announced seven-seater and a $100,000-plus four-seater with a distinct look, said brand sales boss Ian Robertson.
BMW will also launch another small crossover that will be big enough to sell in the United States, he said.
The uberluxurious X7 is part of BMW's plans to expand what it calls its GKL models (short for Grand Klasse in German), which include the newly redesigned 7-series sedan.
Both X7s' styling will differ from the X5, currently BMW's largest crossover, Robertson said. The X7s will go on sale in 2018 and be built in BMW's factory in Spartanburg, S.C.
Robertson wouldn't say whether this range-topping X7 is BMW's answer to the anticipated Maybach version of the Mercedes-Benz GL SUV. Mercedes-Benz insiders said the vehicle is likely to be a second model for the Maybach subbrand, but haven't revealed details or a launch date.
Robertson noted: "Of course the quintessential luxury is still the [BMW-owned] Rolls-Royce -- we do not need a Maybach."
The luxurious X7 won't share any components with the Rolls-Royce crossover due in 2018. The Rolls-Royce, referred to by insiders as the Cullinan, will use an aluminum spaceframe construction while both X7s will be monocoque, Robertson said.
BMW will also add more GKL models, Robertson said, declining to confirm the rumored 9 series. But another model "is well under way, we will see it in the not too distant future. This is not something we dreamt up last week," Robertson said.
At the opposite end of the market, BMW will launch an all-new compact crossover, Robertson said. He wouldn't confirm the model but said there have been spy photos.
That vehicle is expected to be the X2, a coupe version of the X1. The X2 will have styling similar to that of the larger X4 and X6. It is expected next year.
BMW of North America is especially eager to get new crossovers, said the region's CEO, Ludwig Willisch. This year, crossovers will account for 40 percent of BMW's total U.S. sales, up from 30 percent last year -- and even that isn't enough to satisfy the seemingly insatiable demand for these vehicles, Willisch said.
Meanwhile, BMW sees "a slowing of sedan sales," he said. Some competitors are on the way to having 60 to 70 percent of U.S. sales be crossovers, Willisch said, "which is an even stronger message."
Willisch said the superluxurious X7 model would be a niche vehicle, cost more than $100,000 and represent about 1 percent of X7 sales. "It would not be in the $200,000-plus range," like some of the new entries, he said.