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Tesla May Collaborate with BMW

Makers could share batteries, carbon-fiber components.

by on Nov.24, 2014

Tesla CEO Elon Musk during a recent TV appearance.

(This story has been revised to reflect comments by BMW.)

Battery-carmaker Tesla Motors has begun discussing a possible collaboration with Germany’s BMW AG, according to the U.S. company’s CEO Elon Musk.

The two makers are discussing the use of sharing batteries and the lightweight components that can help improve vehicle range. The news comes a month after Germany’s Daimler AG sold off its 4% stake in Tesla.

Plug In!

“We are talking about whether we can collaborate in battery technology or charging stations,” Musk said in an interview with the German news weekly Der Spiegel.

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BMW i3 Named Green Car of the Year

“Validation” of a breakthrough concept.

by on Nov.20, 2014

BMW's Tom Plucinsky,left, accepts the Green Car of the Year award from Green Car Journal's Ron Cogan.

Squaring off with four tough – but environmentally friendly – competitors, the BMW i3 claimed victory as the Green Car of the Year, an award the maker says “validates” the costly development program behind the breakthrough battery-electric vehicle.

The i3 is the smaller and more affordable of two new battery-based vehicles being offered by the German maker’s new brand-within-a-brand, BMW i. It is offered as either a pure battery-electric vehicle, or with an optional range-extending internal combustion engine that automatically fires up when the batteries run down.

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The i3 “breaks the mold” not only with its battery drive system but by bringing the use of lightweight carbon fiber down to the mainstream, said Ron Cogan, the publisher of Green Car Journal, which sponsors the award program. (more…)

Ford F-150, BMW i8 Capture Innovation Vehicle Awards

Motor Press Guild chooses vehicles from 13 finalists.

by on Nov.20, 2014

BMW's new i8 captured the Innovation Vehicle of the Year award for the over $30,000 category from the Motor Press Guild.

The Motor Press Guild stretched the parameters a bit, but the new 2015 Ford F-150 and BMW i8 walked off with its 2014 Innovation Vehicle of the Year (IVY) Awards in Los Angeles yesterday.

The F-150 captured the title for vehicles in the under $30,000 class – even though its average transaction price is expected to be closer to $40,000 – while the 2014 BMW i8 claimed the award for the $30,000 and over category.

A Real Performer!

The two winners were from selected a group of 13 finalists assembled by a panel of judges. (more…)

BMW Puts M-Class Power in Sport-Activity Vehicles

New X-Class entries combine utility and speed.

by on Nov.20, 2014

The new 2015 BMW X5 M delivers 567 horsepower and 553 foot pound of torque.

BMW plans to use a new turbocharged V8 engine in the new M-Class versions of the X5 and X6, the head of the BMW brand said during previews for the Los Angeles Auto Show at which both of the new sport-activity vehicles made their global debut.

Ian Robertson, head of the BMW brand, said that the X5 M and X6 M will deliver a new level of performance and luxury with a package that includes a new suspension, all-wheel-drive and a new powertrain based around a V8 engine that produces even more power for the M-Series “Twin Turbo” technology that delivers 567 horsepower and 553 foot pound of torque that leaves drivers and passengers pushed well back into their seats.

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BMW also has upgraded the brakes on the two vehicles that are expected to travel from zero to 60 miles per hour in four seconds. The new entries combine the agility and everyday versatility of the BMW X-line with the high performance promise of the M-Class vehicles that the German automaker has carefully nurtured over the years, Robertson said. (more…)

BMW, Mercedes Slugging It Out for Sales Title

Duel over luxury crown headed for photo finish.

by on Nov.11, 2014

BMW is holding a slim lead over rival Mercedes-Benz in the U.S. luxury market.

BMW and Mercedes-Benz are locked in a battle royal for the sales crown in the prosperous market for luxury cars in the U.S. BMW held the title for the two previous years, but one of the two has been the leader since 2011: the last year Lexus held the crown.

“One of the noteworthy facts in the October U.S. new vehicle sales results is that BMW now leads its archrival Mercedes-Benz by just 5,389 sales through the first ten months of this year,” IHS Automotive Analyst Tom Libby said.

Award-Winning News!

“With such a small gap in sales through 10 months, the two makes will most likely use marketing tools extensively through the end of the year, including numerous types of incentives, to gain an edge.” (more…)

BMW’s 3Q Profit Slides 1.2 Percent

Vehicle sales strong, other factors cause slippage.

by on Nov.04, 2014

BMW's 2014 X5 continues to set the pace for luxury SUVs and brought in big profits to the maker in the third quarter.

BMW AG’s profits fell slightly in the in the third quarter despite strong sales of its vehicles, particularly its X5 sport-utility vehicle made in South Carolina. The company sold 509,669 cars worldwide, an increase of 5.8%.

The Bavarian automaker’s net profit dropped 1.2% in the quarter due to non-cash losses on foreign currency hedges and the reduced value of a stake in a key supplier. The company is saying it expects to be more profitable this year than it was last year.

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Net profit of 1.31 billion euros ($1.64 billion) for the third quarter ending Sept. 30 fell short of analyst expectations for 1.36 billion euros, reported by the Associated Press. (more…)

First Look: 2015 BMW X5 M and X6 M

Debut set for LA Auto Show next month.

by on Oct.29, 2014

BMW offers a first look at the two big performance crossovers, the X5 M and X6 M, coming to LA.

The world got its first look at the new BMW X5 eDrive hybrid during the Paris Motor Show a few weeks back, and now the Bavarian maker is steering in a very different direction as it offers up details on its all-new  high-performance crossovers, the 2015 BMW X5 M and X6 M. Both models will officially debut at the L.A. Auto Show next month.

As with the latest versions of the more mainstream X5 and X6 Sport-Activity Vehicles, the revised M models opt for evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, design changes. That means new front and rear fascia and body lines.

Power Up!

But what matters most is what lies barely hidden beneath the sheet metal, and the new M crossovers will be adopting the same 4.4-liter, TwinPower Turbo V-8 already offered in the M5 and M6 lines – BMW boasting that it’s the most powerful engine it has ever developed for an all-wheel-drive vehicle.

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BMW Opens Top on New 2-Series Convertible

New ragtop is second addition to family.

by on Oct.03, 2014

BMW added a convertible to its 2-Series line-up. It replaces the 1-Series, which was extremely popular.

BMW grew its 2-Series family by one at the Paris Motor Show with the introduction of the 2-Series convertible. The droptop joins the coupe and Active Tourer in the group.

The new ragtop has big shoes to fill: its 1-Series predecessor was arguably the most successful car in the segment with more than 130,000 units sold worldwide.

Stay on the Fast Track!

Available with four engine options our engines, the range consists of the 220i with a 184bhp gas engine, a 228i with 245bhp, a new 220d diesel engine with 190bhp and, an M235i Convertible with 326bhp. These offerings are mated to either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission. (more…)

BMW Offers First Look at New 2-Series Convertible

Bavarian maker adds another al fresco option.

by on Sep.09, 2014

BMW adds a smaller ragtop to its cabrio line-up.

For those who prefer open-air motoring, BMW is adding yet another cabriolet to its expansive line-up, a downsized model based on its recently added 2-Series coupe family.

The new 2-Series Convertible will reach U.S. showrooms next year, just in time for warm weather, the maker promises, with a starting price of $38,850 for the base 228i soft-top.

Clear the Air!

Despite the steady decline of the U.S. convertible market, BMW has been expanding its offerings, now giving buyers a choice of small, medium and large, marketed in the form of the 2-Series, 4-Series and 6-Series Convertibles. Whether potential buyers are ready to flip their lids remains to be seen, however.

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BMW’s i8 Elevates Maker’s Image in Germany

Hybrid electric improves company’s cool factor.

by on Aug.21, 2014

BMW's new i8 is raising the company's profile among new car buyers in Germany.

BMW’s new i8 is a cutting edge vehicle using new technologies to make it the among the most impressive hybrid electrics on the road. However, few vehicles capture the public’s imagination without great advertising campaigns and, in Germany, the maker seems to be making an impact with the i8.

According to a study by Pulse, a German market research agency, 44% of German car buyers were aware of BMW’s i8 advertising campaign in Germany and that it reinforced the future competence and “coolness” of the BMW brand.

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That number rises to 58% when only BMW owners are polled. Additionally, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota drivers came in above the 44% mark, which indicates that the i8 campaign is BMW is impacting drivers of competing brands. (more…)