BMW won't replace its Tourer-badged minivansby Ronan Glon
It wants to direct Tourer buyers towards its portfolio of SUVs.
BMW rubbed many brand purists the wrong way when it released a pair of front-wheel drive people-movers called 2 Series Active Tourer (pictured) and 2 Series Gran Tourer, respectively. While both models sold surprisingly well in some markets, the company confirmed neither one will spawn a successor.
The people-movers have "done an excellent job bringing new customers to our brand" but they're "not at the center of what our brand today stands for," explained Peter Henrich, the vice president of BMW's product management team, during a recent interview with British magazine Autocar. That's why the five-seat Active and the seven-seat Gran -- released on the European market in 2014 and 2015, respectively -- won't live to see a second generation.
Henrich added his team wants to direct Tourer buyers towards BMW's line-up of SUVs, a shift which is on-going anyways. The segment the Tourers compete in is getting smaller and smaller each year, and it's non-existent in some markets, like the United States. The move to kill both models also falls in line with BMW's policy of streamlining its line-up after years of unrestrained expansion.
Leftlane drove the 225i Active Tourer (pictured) in 2014 and concluded that "dyed-in-the-wool BMW enthusiasts will take some time to accept the Active Tourer, understandably, but its target audience will welcome it with open arms." Ultimately, that audience is too small to justify investing into a second generation, even though most of the components used to build the 2 -- including its engines, transmissions, and its basic platform -- come straight from the company's parts bin.
Rival Mercedes-Benz sees the matter differently. It unveiled the third-generation B-Class at the 2018 Paris auto show, and the model began trickling into European showrooms in early 2019. The B-Class and the 2 Series Active Tourer are variations of the same theme; both are front-wheel drive minivans from brands primarily known for making luxury cars. Mercedes succeeded where BMW failed by being early (the original B-Class went on sale nearly 10 years before the Active Tourer) and building up an enviable reputation while it had a monopoly on the segment.
The Audi A2 -- the car the B-Class was originally aimed at -- retired in 2005, and the brand hasn't manifested much of an interest in filling that gap in its line-up. The closest we might see to a second-generation A2 is the production version of the electric, semi-autonomous AI:ME concept unveiled at the 2019 Shanghai show.
Photos by Ronan Glon.