Inside a bright auditorium at an abandoned airfield near Munich, rows of men and woman gaze at images flashing by on a giant screen: a Mercedes sedan; Porsche and Jaguar SUVs; the face of Elon Musk. “We’re in the midst of an electric assault,” the presenter intones as the Tesla chief’s photo pops up. “This must be taken very seriously.”American Financial Review
Wow, sounds like BMW is finally starting to wake up. Quite a change in tone from when BMW said 85% of cars will still have internal combustion engines in 2030. I guess they no longer think electric vehicles are overhyped or that there is “no demand” for them. But will BMW really commit to an all electric future, or is it already too late for them?
The takeaway: The market is shifting in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago, and BMW must adapt.
The subtext is a recognition that the company has gone from leader to laggard. For years, it set the benchmark in luxury, but it needs to hit the accelerator to fend off resurgent rivals such as Mercedes-Benz and new competitors like Tesla.American Financial Review
Wait a minute, the market is shifting because of competitors like Tesla? But some anonymous troll on Twitter told me Tesla is about to go bankrupt any minute now! Why would the auto industry be afraid of them?
“BMW is falling behind in electrics,” says Ingo Speich, a fund manager at Union Investment, which owns almost 1 per cent of the company.
Since January, the car maker has cycled 14,000 engineers, marketers, and factory managers — about 10 per cent of its workforce — through day-long events to prepare them for a time when customers may order a robo-taxi by app instead of buying a car.American Financial Review
Oh right, that’s why. They’re worried about electric robotaxis. I forgot, what’s the name of the only company in the world that’s building those?
In a temporary building at a BMW test track, they participate in workshops and discussions of carsharing apps, laser sensors, and batteries.American Financial Review
Temporary structure? So, the meeting on the future of the company was held in a tent? By the way, if you see a “laser sensor” on the car they completely blew it.
In the corners, BMW shows off the vehicles it sees as key to its future: a self-driving iNext with a retractable steering wheel; a Rolls-Royce whose roof and sides swing open to allow a comfortable exit; a Mini designed for sharing that changes colours to suit the driver’s mood.American Financial Review
So… the plan to fight Tesla is:
- An imaginary prototype self driving car with disappearing steering wheel, even though BMW has no autonomous capabilities yet? You can’t solve real problems with fake cars
- A Rolls-Royce where you can exit through the roof?
- a Mini that changes colors
No wonder they’re shitting their pants.
“We’re either part of this shift, or it goes on without us,” says Wolfgang OberAmerican Financial Review
Well, you’re not part of the shift so by process of elimination…
BMW is planning only two new battery-powered cars by the end of the decade, and its first self-driving model isn’t due until 2021.American Financial Review
I’m sorry…. two EVs? As in one plus one? How is that going to work out when every car is electric, and many countries ban polluting cars? Also, i’m sure their first self driving car will totally ship on time in 2021 and work perfectly.
The rally begins with a recorded presentation from Krueger viewed with virtual-reality goggles — an extravagance intended to stress the importance of adopting new technologies.American Financial Review
Clever strategy. When reality is tough to deal with and scary, just present to the company in a virtual world.
Staffers sitting on unstable foam cubes in a stuffy room for a session on autonomous cars have no questions when Q&A time rolls around — even though their jobs may depend on understanding such systems.American Financial Review
Alright guys, the legacy auto industry is going bankrupt. Any questions? No? Good.