Although the U.S. will get exactly zero of them, BMW expects to move 100,000 1-series premium compact in 2005 alone. The automaker's lackluster experience with the U.S. launch of the 318ti in the early 1990s is keeping the four cylinder hatch from landing here, but it's possible that if demand presents itself, the model could arrive in 2007. The 1-series is a response to MB's A-class and Audi's A3, and its "flame-surfaced" aesthetics have taken the usual pummeling from Bangle-hating critics. The optimistic BMW however always sees the glass as half-full, and hopes the the car will build on its other recent successes, the X3 small SUV and 6-series full-bodied coupe. Good for you, BMW— keep that head up, and someday, you might just start to make it in this crazy game we call the automotive industry.

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