BMW fights Mercedes on the SUV market to defend luxury lead image

After Mercedes-Benz ML outsold last year the X5 SUV, BMW is ready to start a full scale offensive with the new generation, dubbed internally as “The Boss”, stuffed with advanced technology.

Every new generation from the premium German automaker’s line needs to be the pinnacle of technology at the launch moment, and the X5 is no different – the sport-utility vehicle can drive itself in traffic jams and features night vision to avoid hitting people or animals in the dark. Introduced at the International Auto Show in Frankfurt, the X5 will reach dealerships in November.

“We want to get back to the top with the X5,” said Herbert Diess, development chief for the Munich-based company.

The segment has become a critical battleground in BMW’s effort to fend off Daimler AG’s Mercedes and Volkswagen AG’s Audi, which have both vowed to become the No. 1 luxury-car brand by 2020.

With demand for SUVs rising from Charlotte to Shanghai, IHS Automotive expects the global market for the models to grow 41 percent from last year through 2018 to 18.6 million vehicles. The IHS predicts X5 will surpass the M-Class next year, but globally Lexus RX outsells both German models.

To stay ahead, BMW is expanding its lineup with new models such as the 4-Series coupe, the X4 SUV, the i3 electric city car, and the i8 plug-in hybrid supercar. Up to this moment, BMW has delivered 1.05 million cars worldwide this year, 21,100 more than Audi and 132,000 more than Mercedes.

Via Bloomberg