Following in the footsteps of last week’s Karmann Ghia article, it seemed natural to take a look at two other lesser-known German alternatives to Volkswagen’s Type 1 Beetle and the ‘Beetle-in-a-suit’ Karmann Ghia.
Like the Karmann Ghia, both were attempts to capitalize on a new and expanding market for automobiles in Germany during the postwar economic boom times. That meant that the models had to incorporate existing technology, yet also appeal to a crowd increasingly interested in performance and style. However, both had to be at least somewhat economical and practical as family cars.
The result was a series of interesting and mostly forgotten air-cooled, rear-engine, rear-drive sedans, coupes and convertibles from both BMW and NSU.
BMW Group CEO Harald Krüger says the automaker fully intends on sicking with its current investment strategies in Mexico and the United States, even after President Donald Trump’s proposal to levy steep import taxes on vehicles brought into American borders.
“We need free world trade,” Krueger told the CAR Symposium automotive congress in Bochum, Germany, on Wednesday. (Read More…)
According to BMW’s new head of purchasing, Markus Duesmann, the company intends to expand its cooperation with Daimler AG in acquiring automotive components from suppliers.
The competing automakers began their cooperative purchasing in 2008, limiting it to elements most manufacturers typically share already — items like seating frames, radiators, tires, or air conditioning systems. Despite the cost benefits and leverage from their massed buying power, the companies still keep each other at arm’s length. More recently, however, the two have managed to maintain a healthy rivalry while seeking mutually beneficial ventures together. (Read More…)
BMW Head of Design Karim Habib is reportedly leaving the German automaker for the second time in roughly a decade, making him the third major departure from the group’s styling division in the last ten months.
Official confirmation from BMW is pending, but information from Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport suggests that Habib may have already made his exit. This widens an already gaping hole in the group’s creative landscape. The company has yet to replace Anders Warming, the design boss for Mini, and Benoit Jacob, who styled BMW’s i-division. Both men departed the company in 2016, lured away by Chinese-financed companies.
This leaves BMW Group’s design chief, Adrian van Hooydonk, without a creative frontman for every brand but Rolls-Royce. (Read More…)
Going over the announcement of BMW’s updated 4 Series was reminiscent of my childhood attempts to parse out the difference between two nearly identical images in the monthly Double Check of my Highlights for Children magazine.
Beyond the M Sport styled front bumper and newly standardized LED headlights and taillights for each trim, there is nothing obvious about this mid-cycle refresh of the 4 Series. Most of the improvements are minimal and located below the surface, including the only one that really matters to driving enthusiasts — an improved standard suspension designed to encourage a neutral response at the limit and better feedback. (Read More…)
Mercedes-Benz and BMW have more in common than just a bitter rivalry and the Fatherland — they both feel the need to get more crossover vehicles into North America.
Despite being known largely for their rich heritage of premium sedans and coupes, Bavaria’s Motoren Werke and Daimler’s Three-Pointed Star want to see utility vehicles replacing more of the cars they ship to the United States.
Last year, crossovers and SUVs comprised 42 percent of BMW’s sales in North America — an almost ten percent increase from 2015. Mercedes-Benz also saw an increase in truck sales. Sport utility vehicles now account for 47 percent of its passenger vehicle volume. However, both companies are anticipating a balanced ratio right around the corner. (Read More…)
After being warned against producing vehicles in Mexico, German automakers are not scrambling to re-think their production plans.
In an interview with the German publication Bild, President-elect Trump issued a now-familiar warning to the country’s manufacturers — essentially, any vehicles imported into the U.S. from Mexico will face a 35 percent tax.
The Germans, for the most part, aren’t buying it. Meanwhile, the country’s economy minister saw Trump’s remarks as an opportunity to engage in some not-so-friendly automotive ribbing. (Read More…)
There comes a dreaded moment in many automobile enthusiasts’ lives when the reality of having a family and the need for practicality outweighs all other considerations.
Enter that dreaded “V” word.
Getting a van — especially a minivan — is for many the automotive equivalent of getting neutered. You’ve given up, capitulated. Your desires to apex corners and outrace sports cars are now parked firmly in the third-row tier of importance, and haulin’ ass has been replaced by just hauling asses.
But getting a people-hauler doesn’t have to be all bad. In fact, there are quite a few vans people claim are “good to drive.” While I’ll take their word on such things for the time being and soldier on with my wagon addiction, let’s take a look at some more inspired options for heavy-duty hauling that made the prospect of a van actually seem quite cool.
BMW continues to spend industry-leading levels of money to lure luxury car buyers in the United States. Yet November was the twelfth consecutive month in which sales at the BMW Group declined, year-over-year, in the U.S..
Through the first 11 months of 2016, sales at BMW are down 10 percent compared with the same period in 2015; Mini volume is off 11 percent.
According to TrueCar, however, no automaker is spending more in incentives, on a per vehicle basis, than BMW of North America. November 2016 incentives at the BMW Group jumped 25 percent compared with November 2015 yet sales fell 16 percent.
How much cash on the hood do American luxury car buyers want? (Read More…)
Internet Car Experts have spent the last decade explaining to the rest of us how every example of the BMW E30 3 Series, no matter how decrepit, is worth at least a couple of grand. This claim is even more ridiculous than most of the bad information with which ICEs clog comments sections and forum threads, and I still see plenty of solid-looking E30s at U-Wrench-It-type wrecking yards.
However, the quantity of discarded E30s has declined a bit in the last few years (from a half-dozen per big California yard to two or three), and the E36 has become the reigning King of the Junkyard 3 Series.
Here’s one of six E36s that I spotted at a San Francisco Bay Area self-serve yard a few weeks ago. (Read More…)
Bitter rivals Daimler AG and BMW are planning to combine their car-sharing services —Car2Go and DriveNow — to compete with North America’s Uber car service. The two must be desperate to make headway into the world of vehicle ownership alternatives if they are willing to cooperate on the project.
BMW famously avoided a Daimler-Benz takeover in 1959 by convincing nearly every employee to invest back into the company, thus avoiding both bankruptcy and being forced to join with their main competitor. More recently, Daimler offered BMW employees free admission to the Mercedes-Benz Museum for BMW’s 100th birthday, where they could learn “the complete history of the automobile.” (Read More…)
Due to a wildly cooperative joint venture between German carmakers and the Ford Motor Company, owning an electric vehicle in Europe will soon become far more practical.
Daimler AG, BMW, Ford, and Volkswagen Group intend to establish a continent-wide network of ultra-fast 350 kW capacity charging sites that will begin juicing up vehicles as early as next year. (Read More…)
As a parent of two young children, I watch a lot of movies at home. Most of the blockbuster movies I’ve watched this year are remakes. This month alone, I watched Ghostbusters, Star Trek Beyond, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. All three are part of franchises that died a decade (or more) ago and have been reborn successfully in 2016.
In the same way, inline-six engines have returned to Mercedes-Benz after nearly a 20 year hiatus in North America.
Why are straight six engines making a comeback?
While in recent months TTAC has reported on the declining popularity of the four door, there are still a plethora of fast sedans in the marketplace.
In fact, the performance extracted from them was unfathomable even a generation ago. How did we end up at a 500-horsepower Audi, a 640-horsepower Cadillac and 707-horse Dodge? What were once numbers reserved for otherworldly exotics now are found in a pedestrian nameplate.
But this is no new trend, for while the current power war we’re experiencing has generated outlandish performance numbers for a mere average Joe, the recipe of sticking the most punch possible into a sedan for the masses goes back a long way.
BMW has announced to the world that it wants to increase electric vehicle sales to 100,000 units next year — choosing a figure that is hypothetically possible while remaining statistically unlikely.
Taking all bets.