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BMW Bolstering R&D Spending for 2017

German maker looking to push electrification efforts.

by on May.22, 2017

BMWs R&D budget is getting a boost to ensure it can expand its electrification efforts.

Facing pressure from regulators in China and Europe to reduce emissions and to push ahead with the electrification of its product portfolio, BMW expects its research and development budget, when measured as a percentage of sales, to rise in 2018, BMW chief financial officer said in a German newspaper.

“Reducing CO2 emissions, electrifying engines and autonomous driving are the key challenges for our industry over the next years,” BMW CFO Nicolas Peter told Boersen-Zeitung in an interview published on Saturday.

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Peter said that R&D spending would account for about 6% of sales this year, up from 5.5% in 2016. (more…)

BMW Takes Heat Over Vehicle Fires

Bavarian maker inflamed by ABC report.

by on May.11, 2017

Photo courtesy ABC News.

According to ABC, Taj Zaide reported his BMW caught fire minutes after he parked it at work.

Are BMW owners facing a significant risk of vehicle fires? Or has a major network simply pulled a story together using smoke and mirrors?

In a series of reports aired on such high-traffic shows as Good Morning America, World News Tonight and Dateline, ABC News says its reporters have “discovered dozens of incidents in which (BMW) cars caught fire even though owners reported they had parked their cars and turned them off.”

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For its part, a statement from BMW contends that after doing its own research on 16 vehicle fires reported by ABC, “We have not seen any pattern related to quality or component failure. Vehicle fires can result from a wide variety of external reasons unrelated to product defect.”


BMW Upping Production to 3M Units by 2020

Move comes as it looks to reclaim top luxury sales spot.

by on May.09, 2017

BMW CEO Harald Krueger plans to tell shareholders that the company is looking to reclaim its "rightful" place atop the luxury sales heap.

BMW AG expects to put more of its vehicles on the roads in the next few years. The German maker plans to raise its annual production to 3 million vehicles by 2020 — a 27% increase over last year’s numbers.

President Donald Trump is likely to be happy with the news, sort of. North American production will be on the rise moving from 410,000 units to 750,000 by 2020, according to German newspaper Hadelsblatt.

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However, some of that will come from Mexico while other parts of the increase will come from the maker’s plant in South Carolina. Trump has been haranguing automakers foreign and domestic to build more vehicles in the U.S. or face some sort of punitive action — which has not happened yet. (more…)

BMW Wants to Combine Solar and Hydrogen Power

Overcoming hydrogen's dirty little secret.

by on Apr.26, 2017

At Hannover, BMW is displaying a 5-Series GT fuel cell model that, it boasts fast refueling times and an ability to cover long distances unlike many battery-electrics.

While fuel-cells are often billed as the most environmentally friendly alternative to the internal combustion engine, there is a dark side to hydrogen power – one that BMW says it hopes to address.

Fuel-cells combine hydrogen and oxygen from the air to produce a stream of current that can run a vehicle’s electric motors. The only exhaust is water vapor. But the issue is where that hydrogen comes from. In most cases, it is produced by breaking down fossil fuels like petroleum or natural gas, a process that creates carbon dioxide and other pollutants.

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At the 2017 Hannover Trade Fair, however, BMW is looking at ways to make fuel-cells even cleaner, by producing hydrogen through solar-powered electrolysis, a process that breaks water down into two parts hydrogen, one part water. (more…)

BMW Planning Biggest New Product Blitz in its History

CEO: battery-car sales to nearly double in 2017.

by on Mar.21, 2017

The BMW 740e is one of an assortment of new, electrified models in the pipeline.

BMW plans to roll out about 40 new and significantly updated models during the next two years, the most significant burst in its history. And with a significant number of those vehicles offering battery-based options, CEO Harald Krueger said he expects to nearly double sales of electrified products this year.

BMW needs the product blitz, industry analysts have suggested, if it hopes to catch up with arch-rival Mercedes-Benz, which snatched the global luxury sales crown in 2016 – while also holding at bay aggressive also-ran Audi, which has its own major product offensive in the works.


While BMW’s new models will include plenty of big SUVs and high-performance M models, there will be an expanded array of so-called “new energy vehicles,” or NEV models, Krueger telling journalists at BMW’s annual earnings conference, “our goal is sustainable mobility. There’s no turning back.”


BMW, Mobileye Partner on Data Generation for Navigation

Mobileye can provide information like road hazards, traffic delays, weather information and parking availability.

by on Feb.23, 2017

Mobileye's technological capabilities may help BMW bring this type autonomous system to market.

BMW Group and Mobileye have signed an agreement that will bring Mobileye’s Road Experience Management data generation technology into newly developed BMW Group models beginning in 2018.

The REM system developed by Mobileye can provide information like road hazards, traffic delays, weather information and even parking availability from individual vehicles, which it will pool in the cloud, and then make available to other motorists, giving them a way to supplement pre-existing static HD maps with to-the-minute info from real-world driving.

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The same data could be fed to autonomous vehicle systems in the future. Crowd-sourced real-time data using vehicles equipped with camera-based Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS) technology is a critical enabler for autonomous driving through next-generation high definition maps aimed at making driving safer and more efficient for consumers. (more…)

BMW Puts Kuhnt in Charge of North America

New man will need to reverse U.S. sales slide.

by on Feb.02, 2017

BMW named Bernhard Kuhnt the new CEO of BMW North America, succeeding Ludwig Willisch.

BMW was once the luxury king in the United States, but in each of the last two years, its ceded the sales title to another brand, but perhaps some new blood will turn that around.

The Bavarian automaker named Bernhard Kuhnt to become CEO of BMW of North America effective March 1. He replaces Ludwig Willisch, 60, who will continue on as head of BMW Group Region Americas.

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Willisch held both jobs for nearly five years, and under the new structure, Kuhnt, along with the operating heads of all BMW sales subsidiaries in North, Central and South America, reports to Willisch. (more…)

Automakers Look for Options, Weigh Costs Under Trump

Carmakers, car buyers, car workers might all feel the impact.

by on Jan.27, 2017

Pres. Donald Trump signing an Executive Order. He plans to enact a 20% Mexican tariff.

The increasingly contentious battle between the Trump Administration and Mexico could lead to some significant collateral damage, notably including both carmakers and car buyers.

With the Mexican government rejecting a White House demand to pay for a border wall, President Donald Trump now wants to not only negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement but impose a 20% tariff on good imported from south of the border. After making extensive use of NAFTA to set up a network of manufacturing operations in Mexico, automakers could be among the hardest hit.

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But there is, for now, widespread disagreement about how to respond to the Trump plan. Japanese automakers Nissan and Toyota say they are looking for ways to increase U.S. production. Ford’s CEO, after meeting with the new president this week, is rejecting the idea of building any new U.S. factories. Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler’s chief executive says it may be time to rethink the possibility of a merger with domestic giant General Motors.


Major Refresh Coming for BMW 4-Series

Two-door line gets unique tweaks for U.S. market.

by on Jan.25, 2017

The 2018 BMW 4-Series line-up.

BMW is giving its compact two-door line-up a mid-cycle overhaul for 2018, and while we got a first look at what’s coming for the global line-up last week, we now learn there’ll be some unique tweaks for the American versions of the BMW 4-Series coupes and convertibles, as well as the 2018 Gran Coupe.

Once the two-door half of the hallowed 3-Series, BMW split the line off, bringing the then-new 4-Series line-up to the States for the first time in 2014.

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In an unusual move, this is actually the second year in a row that BMW has updated the 4-Series. It introduced some new engines – and a concurrent change in model nomenclature – for 2017. The focus for 2018 is on design, suspension and technology.


BMW Opening Autonomous Vehicle Development Center in Germany

Automaker looks to open center mid-2017.

by on Dec.21, 2016

BMW plans to open a new autonomous vehicle development center just south of Munich next year.

BMW has formally entered the race to build a self-driving car by announcing it plans to build a development center just outside of Munich in southern Germany.

BMW has said the iNEXT – a self-driving, electric and fully connected vehicle – is scheduled for release in 2021 with an entire range of automated models from BMW Group brands expected to follow.

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As part of the effort to reach its goal, the BMW Group plans to combine its development expertise in vehicle connectivity and automated driving at a new campus in Unterschleissheim, Germany, which near Munich.   (more…)