Mr. Purves has lots of say about the general future direction of BMW but it's the MINI and the 1 series comments that seem most interesting. Here's an excerpt from the Autoweek article:
Supplies of the Mini have been low. You now have about a five- to 10-day supply. Did you purposely restrict Mini's growth?
We aren't purposely restricting Mini's growth. We do have a limit. The plant in Oxford (England) is working flat out on three shifts. They are producing a little less than 180,000 cars, which is near their limit. There is also inevitably, with the introduction of the convertible, some changeover in the plant. Yes, we could sell more cars if we could receive more cars. On the other hand, our planning was substantially lower than our sales rate so we have been able to increase production to at least partially meet that demand.
Is BMW rethinking its plan to bring the 1 Series to the United States?
No. We used the Mini brand in order to ensure that BMW was represented in the small-car segment. You have to have a package with front-wheel drive to seat four people. And if you have a front-wheel-drive car, it can't be a BMW. What better brand than Mini?
The 1 Series is a rear-wheel-drive car, which takes us back to the original size of the BMW 2002. The 3 Series has grown up. The 1 Series takes us back to where we were when we generated the sports sedan that became synonymous with BMW success. As a front-engine rear-wheel-drive car, it has excellent handling and dynamics. And it will appeal to a younger group of people who are looking for that type of car. That's a different group and mind-set than the Mini group.
You can read the entire Autoweek article here.
I think to some degree he's right. The MINI offers a very different experience than the BMW 1 series would and to some degree it's a very different market. However I think he's greatly underestimating the potential market in the coming years for cars like the 1 series and all of its derivatives.