BMW executives have previously suggested the 3-Series Gran Turismo was living on borrowed time and now the news has been confirmed by the automaker.
During the company’s investor presentation, the automaker said “no successor model will be developed for the current generation of the BMW 3-Series Gran Turismo.” While the company said the model saw a “good level of demand,” they’ve decided to reduce product portfolio complexity and eliminate some model derivatives.
BMW says this is important as they see a number of challenges on the horizon. In particular, the company noted rising production costs, rising materials prices, political uncertainty and a slowing global economy. The automaker partly blamed the latter on “international trade conflicts” which is probably a subtle reference to the United States.
While the 3-Series GT is going away, BMW is planning to launch an assortment of new plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. Speaking of the latter, the BMW Group will have five EVs on the market in 2021 including the i3, iX3, i4, iNext and MINI Electric. That number will more than double to 12 EVs by 2025.
On the plug-in hybrid side, there will be at least 13 different models by 2025. BMW didn’t go into specifics, but the automaker used the Geneva Motor Show to showcase plug-in hybrid versions of the 3- and 7-Series as well as the X3 and X5.
As part of the company’s electrification push, future platforms will be able to support internal combustion, plug-in hybrid and electric powertrains. BMW also noted prices of electric vehicles will come down in the future thanks to lower battery costs and increases in efficiency.
BMW is focusing on autonomous driving technology and confirmed vehicles with a Level 3 semi-autonomous driving system will go into production in 2021. They will apparently be able to travel at speeds up to 81 mph (130 km/h) on the highway.
2021 will also see the launch of a pilot program featuring vehicles with Level 4 and Level 5 technology. The latter will be fully autonomous and able to hit speeds of up to 44 mph (70 km/h). That’s not very fast, but the vehicles are designed to operate in urban areas.
Besides talking about technology, BMW revealed it expects premium vehicle sales to grow substantially in the future. If their estimates are correct, global sales will climb from 9,481,097 units this year to 11,799,772 units in 2031.