Tag: bmw group

By on December 5, 2019

BMW is walking back its controversial decision to charge an annual subscription for the use of Apple’s CarPlay in its vehicles. We quickly complained about it, worried that it would spur a new trend of charging customers for the privilege of accessing what is normally standard content.

The German manufacturer originally said the subscription fee was necessary in order to offer wireless updates aimed at keeping the user interface evolving with phones. This was soon proven not to be the case, as other manufacturers already offer that exact service for free. BMW wanted to charge $80 a year (or $300 for a 240-month plan) after providing CarPlay free of charge for 12 months. Now, it will be gratis.  (Read More…)

By on November 1, 2019

Cooperation between automakers is a good way to cope with rising costs but, if we’re being honest, it’s much more exciting when they don’t get along. Think about some of your favorite automobiles. Odds are good that they have a counterpart from another manufacturer they’re supposed to be warring with — Mustang vs Camaro, WRX STI vs Lancer Evolution, Camry vs Accord, Gremlin vs Pinto.

The best rivalries are between manufacturers, as those provide ample opportunity for snide marketing. If we had our druthers, automakers would be forced to compete in biannual gladiator-style competitions that open with scored trash talk. But dreams rarely come true; automotive bloodsports probably require a few years of heavy planning, too.

Luckily, industrial-grade insults aren’t something we have to wait for. To our delight, Daimler AG and BMW Group were going at it on Halloween.  (Read More…)

By on October 28, 2019

Our big concern for Mini’s upcoming electric hatchback was that it wouldn’t have sufficient range to make sense in the United States. The company seemed to be more interested in producing a rambunctious urban runabout, rather than something that could serve as a do-anything, go-anywhere EV. But we figured we’d wait to see where BMW Group planned on pricing the thing before folding arms and furrowing brows.

As it turns out, the Mini Cooper SE’s starting MSRP will be $30,750 (including destination). While that undercuts the cost of some “rival” models by several grand, the Mini EV brings less to the party. (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2019

BMW has pulled the sheets off the new M variants for its line of X5 and X6 SUVs, addressing a horsepower issue that didn’t actually exist. With base models offering over 300 hp and top-trimmed units reaching 523 hp, it’s hard to imagine there being a write-in campaign pleading with the automaker for higher performance M models. But we aren’t going to complain.

The new versions outclass the old X5/X6 M’s 567 horsepower thanks to a 600-hp, TwinPower V8 on loan from the updated BMW M5. Competition models add even more might, taking the 4.4-liter S63 motor up to a lovely 625 horsepower. BMW has also fitted the units with an M-specific adaptive suspension it claims will further improve handling — not that the ludicrously heavy utilities weren’t already impressively nimble for their size.  (Read More…)

By on September 16, 2019

BMW’s i3 has reached the end of its road. The manufacturer recently stated that the model will not be updated, adding that there’s no plan for a successor. Despite the oddball Bimmer serving as the technological basis for the Mini Electric slated to launch next year, the i3 is going to stick around in its current form until the company has no further use for it.

Released in 2013, the i3 was Bavaria’s first stab at a mass-market EV. While this author sees them routinely parked in coastal cities, they’re an anomaly elsewhere. Overt success has eluded the model in the United States, with annual sales dropping from a high of 11,024 units in 2015 to just 6,117 deliveries in 2018. This year’s U.S. sales look to be even weaker for the model.

Fortunately for BMW Group, European sales have been on the rise every year since the car’s introduction. Last year, that resulted in 24,252 deliveries for the region — with 2019 already positioned to surpass that figure easily.  (Read More…)

By on September 6, 2019

The Justice Department has opened an antitrust probe into four automakers that formed a pact with California to compromise on tailpipe emissions, effectively circumventing federal regulators, last July.

Over the summer, Ford Motor Co., Honda Motor Co., BMW AG and Volkswagen Group announced a joint agreement with the California Air Resources Board to adhere to fueling standards slightly lower than Obama-era rules but still significantly higher than the Trump administration’s proposal from 2018. The Justice Department is seeking to determine whether or not that qualifies as a violation of federal competition laws. (Read More…)

By on September 3, 2019

Superfans of BMW’s M subsidiary — or, more accurately, its cars — are in for some good news. The German automaker announced an extra special heritage edition of the M4 on Tuesday. Called the BMW M4 Edition ///M Heritage, and limited exclusively to the F82 coupe, the model is supposed to commemorate everything the M Division stands for.

While that absolutely includes making BMW money, the automaker has yet to provide the model with an MSRP. That said, its special nature will undoubtedly push it beyond the model’s $70,000 base price. It’s also limited to just 750 examples worldwide, which ought to tack on a premium of its own.  (Read More…)

By on August 14, 2019

Mini’s upcoming Cooper SE, the brand’s first all-electric model, goes on sale in 2020. Based off its initial specifications, we assumed it wouldn’t be incredibly popular. While output is a serviceable 135 kilowatts (roughly 184 hp), the model’s small 32.6-kWh battery pack only allows for 146 miles of range using the optimistic European testing cycle. While that would have made it highly competitive in the early days of modern electrification, it’ll be at a disadvantage when stacked against the likes of the Tesla Model 3 or Chevrolet’s Bolt.

We presumed this would manifest as weak demand, leaving Mini to tug uncomfortably at its collar. But the Cooper SE is already outperforming the BMW i3 in terms of sales, and it isn’t even slated for production until November.  (Read More…)

By on July 24, 2019

As automakers connect more vehicles to the internet and install app-based shops into the dashboard, we’ve become increasingly worried with in-car marketing annoyances and the prospect of companies hiding content behind paywalls. Our concerns turned out to be valid.

BMW has decided that it will charge customers an annual subscription fee if they want to utilize CarPlay in its latest models. Odd, considering most other automakers have been trying to get the platform inside their cars as standard equipment. However we’re betting that changes unless BMW gets a healthy dose of criticism.  (Read More…)

By on July 22, 2019

With Oliver Zipse confirmed as BMW’s new chief executive, practically everyone theorized on how he was going to shake up the strategy established under former-CEO Harald Krüger — which revolved around gradually introducing more EVs via a highly flexible architecture. While we were disinclined to agree, a swath of industry experts and media outlets claimed this was a terrible blueprint for the brand and expected Zipse to come up with something different.

However, he looks to be offering more of the same. That begs the question as to why Krüger actually left the company and taints the validity of suggestions that his product strategy was internally viewed as a failure(Read More…)

By on July 22, 2019

Mini might not make sense as a automotive company anymore, at least not in the United States. Consumer tastes have shifted away from small cars and practically everyone is interested in crossovers these days. While this issue has been less pronounced in Europe, where the Mini has enjoyed an uptick in sales, the brand has been struggling in North America. U.S. volumes are comparatively low and have been on the decline since 2015. It’s not a total disaster, but annual deliveries have been wallowing south of 50,000 units for a couple of years now. Nobody can pretend there isn’t a problem.

The fix, according to parent company BMW Group, is to fill up Mini’s product portfolio with crossover vehicles while also giving the little Hardtop a bit of love.  (Read More…)

By on July 18, 2019

With Harald Krüger out, BMW needs a new CEO — one that can effectively transition the company into becoming and electrified automotive dreamscape. Krüger presumably wasn’t interested in taking that path. While that hardly makes him a monster, plenty of people felt that his reluctance to spend ludicrous amounts of money on developing EVs was tanking the company’s share price and making him look like a fool. Not us, though. Bending to investors every whim and chasing down trends with minimal foresight seems like top-tier dipshittery. But that’s the nature of the industry right now, for better or worse.

However, in the short term, it pays to promote electrification and Krüger’s measured strategy of gradually introducing more EVs via a flexible architecture was often seen as too conservative. Perhaps that’s the correct assertion and some new blood is in order at BMW if it’s to correct its course. But who do you pick?  (Read More…)

By on July 6, 2019

BMW

Four years after taking the helm of BMW, Harald Krüger is pulling a Lyndon Johnson. The 27-year Bimmer veteran has decided not to seek a second term as CEO, the automaker reported Friday, leaving it in search of new leadership at a pivotal time in its history.

To any onlooker, it seems Krüger had enough of guiding the German luxury marque through an increasingly thorny landscape, with challenges posed by stagnating sales in the West, an economic downturn in the East, and costly, must-have EV roadmaps. (Read More…)

By on June 24, 2019

Mini Cooper 5-door production line Oxford - Image: BMW UK

Like most brands focused on smaller vehicles, Mini is not faring particularly well in the United States and dealers have grown annoyed. Some have even decided to take BMW to court over its handling of the brand, including one owned by former Mini dealer council chair David Peterson.

The allegations? BMW of North America breached its dealership agreement by failing to effectively promote and develop the Mini brand as promised.

Deciding whether or not BMW is truly at fault should prove exceedingly difficult. But Mini is clearly struggling. Over a third of its annual volume goes to the Countryman — its only crossover model. The rest of its sales are broken up between the numerous variations of its iconic small car, which isn’t occupying the “hot segment” at present. With a not-so-diverse lineup and MSRPs better suited to larger vehicles, Mini’s annual sales have been dwindling since 2013 and failed to surpass 45,000 U.S. deliveries in 2018. Unfortunately, 2019 is already on track to be markedly worse. (Read More…)

By on May 16, 2019

Even though Mini has issued teasers for the new batch of John Cooper Works models for months, we’ve been disinclined to take the bait. It’s not that there’s something wrong with JCW cars; there just wasn’t a lot information to be gleaned from those announcements.

We were waiting for the company to confirm the rumor that the 2020 model year would see an upgraded powerplant to serve as a bit of a game changer for the brand — which is exactly what Mini did this week.  (Read More…)

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