By on December 6, 2017

BMW X7 concept

Because large, powerful vehicles surely play second fiddle to self-driving technology and electric powertrains, right? That sentiment might not hold true in the minds of driving enthusiasts, or even the people in charge of building those vehicles, but that’s the direction the industry’s headed. Greener. Smarter. More soulless.

At BMW, the company’s plan for a cleaner future comes with a steep price tag. In an odd twist, the cost of developing new technologies just might make life more enjoyable for driving enthusiasts in the near future.

According to BMW sales and marketing chief Ian Robertson, there’s only one way the automaker can come up with the cash to build the vehicles of the future. Basically, it needs to create — and sell — as many sexy, desirable, muscular, high-margin vehicles as possible. And it’s willing to build more to make that money appear.

“We are intent on expanding our footprint in the luxury segment,” Robertson told Britain’s Autocar. “We see it as a growth engine, and an ability to be more profitable. We need to generate new ideas for the business model, as we go through the transition to a technology business from a car company. It requires investment. Expanding the luxury segment is key to this strategy.”

Perhaps this period in Bimmer’s history will one day seem like the Edwardian Era. A rosy time where the well-heeled enjoyed a modern, comfortable life filled with adventurous pursuits and opportunity, with the toys to satisfy their desires only a cashier’s cheque away. A time just before tumult and strife erased so much purity and innocence.

Okay, enough of that.

BMW Group’s plans involve introducing 25 electrified vehicles by 2025. Twelve of those vehicles will be fully electric cars. And, of that group, 11 will carry the propeller badge. We’ve known for some time that BMW’s electric plans revolve mostly around the expansion of the “i” sub-brand. Robertson claims the company has trademarked the i1 through i9 model names, as well as iX1 through iX9. The first such model will be the electric X3 (which needs an “i” in its designation to signal its greener nature).

Funding this electric push, as well as BMW’s plans for a vehicle with Level 3 autonomy in 2021, is a crop of big-bucks, gas-gulping cars. Among them, the resurrected 8 Series, the large and potentially terrifying X7, the take-my-money M8, and a new Z4. Oh, and an i8 roadster. None of these vehicles are yet in the hands of owners. Bimmer hopes there’ll be plenty, but the company isn’t likely to stop there.

Think back to those trademarked model names.

“You can anticipate further products we’ll talk about in the future,” said Robertson, who made it clear that because SUVs are the only BMW vehicles with the potential for sales growth, that’s where the company’s keeping its focus. Expect the X7, which debuts next year as a 2019 model, to gain two larger siblings.

Gotta burn some gas to save that grass.

[Image: BMW Group]

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16 Comments on “Bummer: BMW Needs to Build a Lot of Large, Powerful Vehicles Before It Can Go Green...”


  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    How about a bare-bones M3 for around $50k? and/or bare-bones M340i / XM340i for around $40k?

    • 0 avatar
      theonlydt

      They’re looking for margin – so barebones makes no sense unless it’s a superleggera they can charge $10k more for and take equipment off it (then charge you to put it back on).

  • avatar
    stingray65

    We need to build desirable cars that people are willing to pay big money for so we can afford to build undesirable cars that we have to pay people to buy. Sounds like a sure formula for success.

  • avatar
    W210Driver

    When I check the news in the morning I am surrounded by articles which talk about the death of our planet, pollution and out of control automotive emissions.

    So why are manufacturers still churning out these hideous full-size SUVs whose sole specialty is guzzling the unleaded stuff as if it were oxygen?

    Follow the money, I guess.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Maybe you’re just being constantly bombarded with lies and half truths?

    • 0 avatar
      Eggshen2013

      Because people want big, ugly SUV’s?

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “When I check the news in the morning I am surrounded by articles which talk about the death of our planet, pollution and out of control automotive emissions.”

      Have you not noticed that 100% of the proposed solutions to this dire problem that they’ve invented here boil down to taking your money and giving it to their friends?

      You’re not watching news. You’re watching advertising.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    We need a full size 3 row body on frame BMW SUV called the X7, then an X8 with a swooping roof that makes the 3rd row only usable for toddlers. Add the M sport package for extra plasticky hideousness.

    I want to like BMW, I appreciate the concept of a buttoned down German sport sedan, but it seems like they have neglected to upkeep any of the things that made them great. The basic interior was excusable because it was trying to be lightweight and focused, but now its not those things anymore, it just has a worse interior than Mercedes and Audi. Are people going to notice that their new BMW isn’t as good as the old one?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Why would the X7 be body-on-frame?

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      I think most consumers of today’s BMWs quit caring a long, long time ago about the “buttoned down” sports sedan, much less notice the relative merits of older models as compared to today’s. Enthusiasts may cringe, but they’re not the ones paying the bills for BMW. I’m a huge BMW fan, at least up until the E46 3-series. Most of the product after that leaves me cold (although I’m strangely attracted to a base 128i with manual trans). Sad, but true…they’re going where the money is, and the headlight-flashing die-hard isn’t their prime target anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        cognoscenti

        Sad, but so true. When I’m driving the E90 M3, I feel a greater affinity with the guy still rocking his E39 M5 or 330i ZHP than I do with the new M3/M4 – and embarrassment at the cocky, self-important image conveyed by the BMW SUV driver or, if you’ll forgive the expression, “basic bitch” lease-special sedans.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    TTAC: “Bummer: BMW Needs to Build a Lot of Large, Powerful Vehicles Before It Can Go Green”

    SIMPLE: All BMW has to do is build really powerful fast, nice-handling PICKUP TRUCKS and sell them in the USA. Problem solved.

    ==============

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Fleece the holdout numbskulls for every euro you can get out of their pockets before they find themselves last into a better game? Why not?

  • avatar

    When do car makers (and that includes Tesla) get it through their thick heads that the smaller (sleeker) the car, the better it will be able to self-maneuver through traffic, and… the more it will benefit from battery-drive. That the Tesla Model S uses a 500 kg battery pack to carry what is usually only one passenger that weighs 6-7 times less, says enough.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    I’m waiting for the four-row X12.

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