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      09-09-2016, 01:24 PM   #1
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BMW management will skip Paris show to strategize on electric car impasse

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BMW management to skip Paris show over electric car impasse
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Update 9/12/16: Report claims BMW will change up its electric vehicle strategy and produce electric versions of existing models, including the BMW 3 Series, X4, and MINI.

See: http://bmwi.bimmerpost.com/forums/sh....php?t=1304016



As reported by Automotive News:

September 9, 2016

FRANKFURT/MUNICH --
BMW's management board is skipping the Paris Motor Show to hold talks aimed at breaking a deadlock over whether to produce new electric cars, including a battery-powered Mini, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Spurred on by the success of U.S. rival Tesla, which has received almost 400,000 pre-orders for its Model 3 car, German carmakers Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen have accelerated their own electric car programs.

VW, for example, has said it plans to launch more than 30 electric vehicles over the next decade, forecasting they would account for about a quarter of group deliveries by 2025.

Executives across the industry predict electric cars will increasingly gain mainstream acceptance among customers thanks to advances that make batteries get cheaper and more powerful and the VW emissions scandal, which has sparked a regulatory backlash against diesel-engine vehicles.

But BMW has been torn about whether to accelerate development of new electric cars, given its expensive early investments into the area which resulted in only lackluster sales of its i3, which saw only 25,000 deliveries last year.

Norbert Reithofer championed the i3 project while CEO of the carmaker and, in his new role as chairman, is keeping up pressure on new CEO Harald Krueger and BMW management to expand the company's electric program.

But some other senior executives are unwilling to plow more resources into electric cars until i3 sales improve and there is a clearer business case for such investment, according to one of the four sources, who declined to be named because of the confidential nature of the discussions.

Most of BMW's eight-strong management board -- including the CEO and CFO -- traditionally attend the closed-door press and executive days of the biennial Paris Motor Show for one of the biggest industry gatherings of the calendar.

But this year only Ian Robertson, board member for sales and marketing, will be at the show, while the rest will instead attend a company strategy meeting at the end of September, according to the sources.

Board members will attempt to reach agreement on the carmaker's electric car strategy, including whether to build an electric Mini, said the sources.

BMW declined to comment.

BMW's car division has delivered a return on sales above 8 percent for 25 quarters in a row, a track record that the new management does not want to blemish, even as heavy investments into ride-hailing services loom.

"How does the company expand into the loss-making segment of electric cars and retain its industry-leading profitability. That's essentially the question facing management now," said another of the sources.

The carmaker recently revamped the i3 by giving it a new battery with greater range, a step which has given a boost to sales.

Mini platform

After years of pushing back a decision on an electric Mini, many BMW managers are now warming to the idea, the sources said, given that governments are clamping down on pollution and offering subsidies for zero-emissions vehicles and charging infrastructure.

"The question is: what alternative is there," said another person familiar with BMW's thinking, who declined to be named.

Those managers in favor want to have an electric Mini ready for 2019, the sources said, but to build one BMW needs to find a Mini vehicle platform which can accommodate a battery, and to make expensive investments to convert factories to build electric cars.

It is too expensive to rework the i3's platform to suit a Mini, one of the sources said, since costs of reengineering would probably make it even more expensive than the i3 which costs in excess of 40,000 euros ($45,000).

Senior managers fear they will not recoup the investment costs with Mini-branded cars because these do not command the same sticker prices as BMW-badged cars, another of the sources said.

BMW is already working on a mid-sized electric "crossover" vehicle.

Compensating

One way to compensate for lower profits from smaller cars would be to expand the range of large luxury and M-branded performance cars, the source said. BMW is considering building a model priced above its 7-series flagship to capture a segment of ultra-wealthy clients who are buying the likes of Mercedes Maybach models, another source said.

BMW will also discuss how best to retain staff, after suffering high-profile defections, including a member of the electric cars development team.

One of them was Carsten Breitfeld, the former head of the i8 program, who defected to Chinese electric vehicle maker Future Mobility Corp. in July 2016 because he felt BMW had lost some momentum in the area of electric cars.

"I worked in BMW i for some years and we did some new things," Breitfeld told Reuters in China. "After doing this first step BMW stepped back and waited for what would happen in the market."

The cumbersome process of getting things approved was one of the key frustrations, Breitfeld said, adding that at Future Mobility he can get 10 people in the room who handle all the key areas and immediately make a decision.

"The same thing in a big corporation takes half a year because it's not 10 people you have to talk to, it's 500 people."

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      09-09-2016, 02:03 PM   #2
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At least they're awknowledging that at the moment they are not sitting well in the shifting market.
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      09-09-2016, 02:44 PM   #3
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I think they should. Tesla sells because the electric car doesn't look like crap, something every other electric car so far has that distinction. Not to mention the performance aspect of the Model S.

i3 looks horrendous, bad mileage and cannot go beyond 120 miles apparently. i8 is better. If they can match what Model S is or better it will go well. Hopefully.
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      09-09-2016, 02:46 PM   #4
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You got the looks right with the i8... The i3 is an acquired taste. And I was bored to see the 330e is the only hybrid 3er option ... why not make the m performance model electric


Anyway here's the answer. Make something electric / hybrid that's a proper super car. Make it limited run, handle superbly and expensive.

That will sell.

(It's telling the 918, P1 and La Ferrari all sold out quickly)
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      09-09-2016, 02:47 PM   #5
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Well IMHO the tesla does look better than the i3
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      09-09-2016, 02:57 PM   #6
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Dumb style, dumb design and behind the curve technology, the i3 was DOA. BMW best wake up to the fact their engineers and designers are failing to produce good looking cars. There's no reason why given all the talent in Munich, the Model 3 couldn't be a BMW.
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      09-09-2016, 03:52 PM   #7
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Agreed.

Why BMW made the i3 so horrendously ugly is beyond me. If they would have made it a regular sedan that looked good, it would have sold extremely well. There is a reason those 400k people lined up to reserve a car they hadn't seen yet. Because they predicted it wouldn't be ugly!

Come on BMW! I miss driving a BMW, but won't drive another gas car again.
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      09-09-2016, 04:08 PM   #8
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BMW is smart to hold off. Tesla has yet to deliver the smaller sedan so who knows how it will sell without the crazy tax credits.
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      09-09-2016, 04:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clbmw View Post
You got the looks right with the i8... The i3 is an acquired taste. And I was bored to see the 330e is the only hybrid 3er option ... why not make the m performance model electric


Anyway here's the answer. Make something electric / hybrid that's a proper super car. Make it limited run, handle superbly and expensive.

That will sell.

(It's telling the 918, P1 and La Ferrari all sold out quickly)
Good point....should have given the i8 a much more potent mid-engine. The chassis can handle a lot more power from what I'm seeing driving with DSC off. 480-500 HP and a bit wider tires would have been perfect.

The i8 and the P918 have the same platform: all wheel drive through a front drive battery with a mid-internal combustion engine, carbon tub. But the 918 is in another stratosphere on performance. I doubt the i8 could last more than a few laps around the track without overheating the battery. And 231 HP from the motor just isn't enough when the front battery is dead/hot.

Maybe the next gen i8 will provide better performance and will solve a lot of the issues as to why very few people could even have it - no trunk, difficult getting in/out, poor visibility etc.
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      09-09-2016, 04:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unrulyteach View Post
Well IMHO the tesla does look better than the i3
That's an understatement.

the i3 didn't sell well because it's f'ing hideous, it's too expensive, and it's f'ing hideous. Did I mention it's hideous? Whoever signed off on that design should be taken out back and flogged.
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      09-09-2016, 04:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unrulyteach
Well IMHO the tesla does look better than the i3
Yep. Looks are why BMW's electric cars do not sell well. Make the electric car look like the gas version and lose the ugly aesthetics and more people will buy BMW electric cars. Plain and simple.
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      09-09-2016, 04:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle B
Quote:
Originally Posted by unrulyteach View Post
Well IMHO the tesla does look better than the i3
That's an understatement.

the i3 didn't sell well because it's f'ing hideous, it's too expensive, and it's f'ing hideous. Did I mention it's hideous? Whoever signed off on that design should be taken out back and flogged.
Ditto.
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      09-09-2016, 04:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle B
Quote:
Originally Posted by unrulyteach View Post
Well IMHO the tesla does look better than the i3
That's an understatement.

the i3 didn't sell well because it's f'ing hideous, it's too expensive, and it's f'ing hideous. Did I mention it's hideous? Whoever signed off on that design should be taken out back and flogged.
I don't hate the i3 but it should 60% of its price for its style
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      09-09-2016, 04:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle B View Post
That's an understatement.

the i3 didn't sell well because it's f'ing hideous, it's too expensive, and it's f'ing hideous. Did I mention it's hideous? Whoever signed off on that design should be taken out back and flogged.
exactly. A hardcore electric car that is between a 2 series and 3 series in size with 4 doors, handling like the E90, and priced like a 3 series would steal sales away
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      09-09-2016, 04:39 PM   #15
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This is a tricky balance.
The VW scandal pushed the switch to EV a few years earlier. The politicians wants EV, but the markets is hesitant. Meanwhile the oil is cheap nowadays.
In this mix you also have the autonomous cars coming along, making the car industri very complex and fast changing.
One really need to look a bit farther than a year or three, if BMW are shortsighted at this stage, the train will leave the station.
The hybrid is just a stopgap, the solution is EV with 500 km range.

Tesla are VERY hyped, looking at the numbers more than the Musk hype, itīs hard to take them serious.
Theyīve never fulfilled earlier promises, so with model 3, they have a huge problem fulfilling their contracts.
They also have money issues, buying Solar was also a bold move.
Musk want so much so fast, but i canīt see Tesla being anything more than a dent in the industri at this stage. The Germans are coming along and they have the resources, the factories and the money to make it happen.
Letīs see if BMW will join the rest, they need to make a move, and make it fast.
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      09-09-2016, 04:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle B
Quote:
Originally Posted by unrulyteach View Post
Well IMHO the tesla does look better than the i3
That's an understatement.

the i3 didn't sell well because it's f'ing hideous, it's too expensive, and it's f'ing hideous. Did I mention it's hideous? Whoever signed off on that design should be taken out back and flogged.
It had to resonate with "early adopters" which it did to a certain point.

People tend to think everything has to be great like a "big tent" summer blockbuster movie and if it's not then it's a failure.

BMW developed i from scratch and one either has to be patient as they move forward about what is coming to market or go purchase something else.

The other part of the equation is with limited offering in the marketplace there are other choices.

But as other manufacturers are just now considering adding electric cars and the complex connectivity for City Cars BMW should and will be well ahead of the direct competition due to future thinking.

Growing pains? Yes. Will they figure it out? We hope so and they are attempting to make serious decisions that will impact the company's future.

The i3 is distinctive and as with most modern cars looks better than pictures. Future cars will not look like old cars. Adjust your view of automotive aesthetics as cars overall will change more in the next decade than all of the previous century.
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      09-09-2016, 05:04 PM   #17
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Well of course Tesla sells a lot of cars - they look good! The i3 is (sorry to owners here) looking like horse shit compared to the normal great looking BMWs - Make a 3-series looking full on Tesla eater and see it power up and leave the i3 in the dust.. You have the tech - just use some sensible great designs and see it work...
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      09-09-2016, 05:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Questofthetune
At least they're awknowledging that at the moment they are not sitting well in the shifting market.
BMW has introduced so many new models in the past few years it's pure mismanagement for them to be in the spot they are right now with respect to hybrid and pure EVs. Are they really knocking it out of the park with their GTs, X4s, and X6s? Do they really need as many variations in 3 series cars as they have? How many fewer cars would they have sold if they had 2 fewer 3 series variations. Did they need to keep growing the size of all of their cars making it necessary to introduce the 2 series which is still bigger than an e46 3 series?

Don't get me wrong I love my M2. But they could have been in a stronger position in the electric space had they focused a bit more.
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      09-09-2016, 05:28 PM   #19
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A quick Google search shows BMW sold 30,000 i3s in 2015 and Tesla sole 50000 cars. So the perception that Tesla sells a lot of cars is a bit misleading if you ask me. The tesla looks like a car but people want to know the company they purchase from will be in business in five years. Ask Saab owners. The i3 looks like they tried to make it ugly. And still sold 30000. Go figure. If BMW improves the look and range of the i3 and the model 3 is delayed, highly likely and costs more then promised again highly likely BMW will be in a good spot.
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      09-09-2016, 06:36 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MFore
A quick Google search shows BMW sold 30,000 i3s in 2015 and Tesla sole 50000 cars. So the perception that Tesla sells a lot of cars is a bit misleading if you ask me. The tesla looks like a car but people want to know the company they purchase from will be in business in five years. Ask Saab owners. The i3 looks like they tried to make it ugly. And still sold 30000. Go figure. If BMW improves the look and range of the i3 and the model 3 is delayed, highly likely and costs more then promised again highly likely BMW will be in a good spot.
Tesla is overrated. They haven't made a f-ng dime in profit and live off the backs of taxpayers so rich people can flout their green credientials buying their product.
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      09-09-2016, 06:58 PM   #21
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle B
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Originally Posted by unrulyteach View Post
Well IMHO the tesla does look better than the i3
That's an understatement.

the i3 didn't sell well because it's f'ing hideous, it's too expensive, and it's f'ing hideous. Did I mention it's hideous? Whoever signed off on that design should be taken out back and flogged.
I don't hate the i3 but it should 60% of its price for its style
Are you insane? A fully loaded i3 at $30,000. Why don't BMW pay for your car payments and insurance also? How can they possible make any profit selling the i3 and 60% of the price?
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      09-09-2016, 07:07 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unrulyteach
Well IMHO the tesla does look better than the i3
That's not saying much...
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