From hybrids to hydrogen vehicles - and possibly with diesel-hybrids, like this Vision Concept - BMW promises to go green, but can the maker hold down costs – and maintain the distinctive ride and performance that justifies its hefty product premium?
BMW has an alternative Vision of the future.
No, the Vision show car making its debut at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, this month, won’t be rolling into showrooms anytime soon. Its diesel-hybrid powertrain is far too complicated and expensive to produce – for now. But Vision concept underscores the automaker’s increasingly energetic search for cleaner, high-mileage technology that can supplement, potentially even replace, the traditional powertrains that it has long relied on.
But “going green” poses some potentially serious challenges for the company, officials acknowledge. For one thing, while new laws may require – and consumers demand – cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles, the German maker must maintain the distinctive performance and ride that allows it to charge a premium for vehicles ranging from the subcompact 1-Series to its big 7-er sedans.
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There’s also the issue of cost. Despite the traditional premium consumers have paid for the marque’s “spinner” logo, BMW officials question how much more motorists will shell out for “clean” vehicles.