BMW Focused On I Subbrand Over Short-Term Monetary Gains
In lieu of short-term monetary gains over their competitors at Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen (via Audi), BMW is spending its earnings on building up their i sub-brand through the city-focused i3 and the plug-in hybrid supercar i8.
As a result of their focus on the cutting edge, and in spite of demand for the brand’s 3 Series, the German automaker posted a 3.7 percent decline in third-quarter earnings, pulling in $2.6 billion this time around. In an effort to stay ahead of their hard-charging competition (both of whom aim to bury BMW in the sales war by the end of this decade), BMW will introduce 25 new models during the 2013 and 2014 model years, 10 of whom are completely new. In contrast, Mercedes aims to release a baker’s dozen of all-new Teutonic goodness by 2020, while Audi plans to add a few more numbers to its Q series of SUVs.
Regarding the i3, 8,000 orders have already been sent to dealers in the United States, Europe and China, prompting BMW to make more of the EV in time for its debut in European showrooms November 16; American and Chinese customers will get theirs sometime in the first half of 2014. The price of admission for the i3 on our shores will be $41,350, with an optional 650cc 2-cylinder engine — whose sole purpose to keep the electric power going for an additional 80 to 100 miles on top of the 80 to 100 miles the electric-only model travels — priced around $4,000.
Well, for MY2014, BMW released the 4-Series and the new X5 (which we know will constitute a new X6), so there are those. The 2-Series is on its way, and there's talk of a an X4 (four-door coupe based on the X3), as well as a four-door-coupe based on the 3-Series, which will probably be placed within the 4-Series lineup. You've already mentioned the i3, and an i8 is coming. Now, if we're talking entirely about models within series', of course there are new smaller diesel versions of just about everything, the new entry-level 320i that was just released, the fact that RWD is, for the first time, an option on the X5, and obligatory M models for the new 2, 3 and 4-Series, and the upcoming X5 M and X6 M. And I think the current M6 was released during MY2013, so it probably counts. I wouldn't be surprised to see another Z4 M, since BMW knows the Z4 can't currently hold a candle to the Jaguar F-Type. Also, expect some kind of range-topping 7-Series to slot above the Alipna B7...you know, to bridge the gaping gap between the 7-Series and its structural sister, the Rolls-Royce Ghost.
The "i" sub-brand has no raison d'etre. The ICE has been getting steadily more efficient over the years, and energy-recapture technology has already broken through the 40% thermal efficiency threshold. The underlying efficiency problem is mass. The Model T weighed a bit over 500kg. The X3 weighs over 3 times as much. Transporting a 4-wheeled living room approximately 200 miles per week is not a worthwhile endeavor. If BMW trimmed the i3 chassis until it weighed less than 1,000kg, why did they add back 500lbs of batteries? BMW seem to be playing a dangerous game. Luxury manufacturers were once able to convince wealthy consumers to buy energy-inefficiency at a premium, but I'm not convinced the same strategy will woo new generations of people who are not really participating in car culture, specifically because they cannot sustain the inefficiency.
There's just so much wrong with this course of action I don't know where to begin.
Some comments: 1. How is this car's powertrain better then the Accord Hybrid Plug-in with the Intelligent Multi-Mode hybrid system? I mean, if we were to give both cars the same kwH rated battery pack, wouldn't the Accord destroy this thing on any objective measure? 2. Honda is touting the new 2.0 Atkinson engine as the world's most thermally efficient production engine. --> I wonder how this thermal efficiency compares to the boosted and non-boosted engines offered in other vehicles including the range extender in this thing? --> I wonder how the new Hybrid Accord's thermal efficiency will compare to the Gen4 Prius? Lastly, does everyone realize the kick to the face Honda just gave the industry with the overall I-MMD layout? I mean, the way in which they decided in a simple 1:1 clutch lock-up for the e-CVT is pure brilliance. Just imagine for a moment.... the Accord's existing drivetrain but with a structure made of CFRP... what would be the FE of the Accord with 500 pounds removed???? My point is there is no point in this i3