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      01-21-2021, 10:39 AM   #1
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Originally Posted by Reuters
MUNICH (Reuters) - BMW aims to return to its pre-pandemic operating margin target as the global economy recovers, but big investments in electric cars mean the automaker will have to simplify its vehicle portfolio, its finance chief told Reuters.

Nicolas Peter said orders had fallen because of the latest pandemic-related lockdowns, but added: "if activity starts again after the middle of February, we should be able to deliver a reasonable first quarter."

Improving market conditions, a Brexit deal and the German company's plans to increase its share in its Chinese joint venture to 75% from 50% in 2022 should all help push BMW back to its pre-pandemic operating margin target of 8% to 10%.

"We're not talking about far away in the future, but it is a goal that we're looking at systematically in the short term," Peter said during an interview at BMW's Munich headquarters. The company will publish its 2021 margin target in March.

A surge in premium car sales in China, the world's largest autos market, provided much-needed help for BMW's business - it also boosted German rivals Daimler and VolkswagenDE> - and it should report a 2020 operating margin of between 2% and 3%, Peter said.

Changing car line-ups from petrol and diesel to electric versions to meet emissions targets in China and Europe, not to mention trying to compete with electric carmaker Tesla, is hugely expensive, and was a driving factor in the recent merger of PSA and Fiat Chrysler to form Stellantis, the world's fourth-largest carmaker.

Further consolidation is expected as carmakers struggle with electrification and investing in self-driving technology, but Peter said BMW could handle the transition.

"We are very confident we can make it alone," he said.

But because electric vehicles (EV) are expensive to develop and still account for a small portion of sales, they are less profitable for BMW, Peter said.

"That's why investment is so important," he said. "We have to find ways to get to a different cost level, especially with cells and batteries."

So the premium carmaker is embarking on a push to cut complexity - reducing engine variants and options for different vehicles, scrapping features customers don't use, plus overhauling software to focus on a simpler, more efficient way of building vehicles.

In 2020, BMW's global EV sales rose 31.8% versus 2019 and the carmaker says it plans to double its sales of fully-electric vehicles this year.

Traditionally, BMW has considered Germany's other carmakers as its rivals, but Peter said increasingly it is looking to San Francisco and companies like China's Nio Inc - with its focus on interaction between car and driver - for inspiration.

He said that in polls two thirds of Chinese consumers have said they will switch to other brands and products if they provide a better digital experience.

"Those are the themes that have to be in focus," Peter said.
Original Article: https://reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKBN29Q1X1
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      01-21-2021, 11:39 AM   #2
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There are so many ground-up dedicated EV platforms becoming available that BMW's compromised adaptations of ICE platforms will need to be priced lower than a dedicated EV platform to see many sales, IMO.
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      01-21-2021, 12:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ted99 View Post
There are so many ground-up dedicated EV platforms becoming available that BMW's compromised adaptations of ICE platforms will need to be priced lower than a dedicated EV platform to see many sales, IMO.
That's the big question mark here, and you might be correct. We'll finally start to see how this is going to play out later this year since BMW is rolling out both the i4 and iX in the coming months. The rubber hits the road, and it's going to be exciting to watch. As the article states, they want to double EV sales, and I think it's obvious that these two new models are where they expect that movement to happen.
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      01-21-2021, 01:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkoesel View Post
That's the big question mark here, and you might be correct. We'll finally start to see how this is going to play out later this year since BMW is rolling out both the i4 and iX in the coming months. The rubber hits the road, and it's going to be exciting to watch. As the article states, they want to double EV sales, and I think it's obvious that these two new models are where they expect that movement to happen.
The problem may be that if sales are not good, is it the fault of the car, the marketing, or the grill or some combination thereof?
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      01-21-2021, 01:14 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mkoesel View Post
That's the big question mark here, and you might be correct. We'll finally start to see how this is going to play out later this year since BMW is rolling out both the i4 and iX in the coming months. The rubber hits the road, and it's going to be exciting to watch. As the article states, they want to double EV sales, and I think it's obvious that these two new models are where they expect that movement to happen.
Has it been confirmed if the i4 is a ground up EV or a shared platform? Or is it shared with the upcoming 4GC? I believe the iX is ground up, and the upcoming i7 and iX1 I would believe are shared platform since each mode will be receiving both ICE and EV powertrains but of course details are still a bit unknown.
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      01-21-2021, 02:18 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by stein_325i View Post
Has it been confirmed if the i4 is a ground up EV or a shared platform? Or is it shared with the upcoming 4GC?
It is most definitely an electric G26, just like the iX3 is an electric G01. These vehicles are the first manifestations of the corporate strategy to offer all types of drive for "every" vehicle in the lineup.

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I believe the iX is ground up, and the upcoming i7 and iX1 I would believe are shared platform since each mode will be receiving both ICE and EV powertrains but of course details are still a bit unknown.
To the best of my ability to sift through the marketing smokescreen, I'm pretty convinced that the iX is actually a CLAR vehicle. The platform is, as near as I can tell, essentially the same one that will underpin the rest of the upcoming generation of BMWs, starting with the G70. That they will not offer gasoline, diesel, or PHEV iX models shouldn't by itself misguide us into thinking its something completely different. Once they hit the street, and we have more details, it should be possible to test this hypothesis.

Of course, the premise of a dedicated platform vs. an adapted legacy one will naturally have gray areas, so this could end up being a more difficult question to get a consensus on than one might think. Some degree of hair splitting is likely to take place, especially when other manufacturers (including Mercedes and Ford) are doing what might end up being similar things once all the technicalities are out in the open.

That being said, for now, BMW appears to be the only major player who doesn't seem to have any interest in developing a ground up EV platform to augment their transitional vehicle architectures sometime later this decade. Everyone else, it would appear, has at least some plans for true legacy-free vehicles over the next few years. But, aside from the i3 which has no future, BMW has been silent.
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      01-22-2021, 11:15 AM   #7
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What are the compromises of using an adapted ICE-capable platform over a dedicated platform? A dedicated EV platform generally offers the following:

1) Longer wheelbase for a given overall length giving a better ride over lousy roads.
2) More interior space for a given overall length because of cab-forward design and lack of a center tunnel.
3) "Probably" lower weight.

What are the advantages of using an ICE-capable platform over a dedicated EV platform?

1) Possibly lower cost as the platform can be amortized over a larger production run and no need to tool up a completely different production line.
2) The EV's look more "normal" in their proportions. This could be an advantage in the early days of EV adoption for the general buying public.

Early adopters of electric propulsion technology actually welcomed looking "different". Until the general public realizes the greater space efficiency of the EV-specific platform and it's "cab-forward" look, a more traditional look may be an advantage. Remember how VHS won over technically superior BetaMax for entirely non-technical reasons.

Whether intentional, or the result of having current management make lemon-aid out of lemons left by previous Board decisions, BMW may actually fare well in the transition period with these compromised platforms because it's products look so conventional (grills excepted).
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      01-22-2021, 11:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ted99 View Post
What are the compromises of using an adapted ICE-capable platform over a dedicated platform? A dedicated EV platform generally offers the following:

1) Longer wheelbase for a given overall length giving a better ride over lousy roads.
2) More interior space for a given overall length because of cab-forward design and lack of a center tunnel.
3) "Probably" lower weight.

What are the advantages of using an ICE-capable platform over a dedicated EV platform?

1) Possibly lower cost as the platform can be amortized over a larger production run and no need to tool up a completely different production line.
2) The EV's look more "normal" in their proportions. This could be an advantage in the early days of EV adoption for the general buying public.

Early adopters of electric propulsion technology actually welcomed looking "different". Until the general public realizes the greater space efficiency of the EV-specific platform and it's "cab-forward" look, a more traditional look may be an advantage. Remember how VHS won over technically superior BetaMax for entirely non-technical reasons.

Whether intentional, or the result of having current management make lemon-aid out of lemons left by previous Board decisions, BMW may actually fare well in the transition period with these compromised platforms because it's products look so conventional (grills excepted).
I don't think its EV platforms that are causing EV's to be ugly, manufacturers are simply trying to be aerodynamic as well as space efficient while having their EV's "stand out" more than regular models, and in order to do so, they try to push new and unusual designs on the public.

EV's can still look great and very "ICE" like as the Mustang Mach-E, Model S, and Porsche Taycan have shown us.
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      01-22-2021, 12:29 PM   #9
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My view is the only way EVs will become the norm is through legislation. This has been shown to be the case with safety (seatbelts and airbags), fuel economy and emissions.

EVs are not being demanded by consumers in a meaningful way. Thatís a big reason some EVs are polarizing, because they arenít developed based on consumer desires. When sustained and meaningful EV legislation is put in place, carmakers will develop desirable and effective EVs with similar economic impact (price, cost) as outgoing ICE vehicles.

I will be one of the last people pumping gasoline. EVs in the present embodiment do not meet my transportation requirements, given the alternative choices available today.
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      01-22-2021, 12:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ted99 View Post
What are the compromises of using an adapted ICE-capable platform over a dedicated platform? A dedicated EV platform generally offers the following:

1) Longer wheelbase for a given overall length giving a better ride over lousy roads.
2) More interior space for a given overall length because of cab-forward design and lack of a center tunnel.
3) "Probably" lower weight.

What are the advantages of using an ICE-capable platform over a dedicated EV platform?

1) Possibly lower cost as the platform can be amortized over a larger production run and no need to tool up a completely different production line.
2) The EV's look more "normal" in their proportions. This could be an advantage in the early days of EV adoption for the general buying public.

Early adopters of electric propulsion technology actually welcomed looking "different". Until the general public realizes the greater space efficiency of the EV-specific platform and it's "cab-forward" look, a more traditional look may be an advantage. Remember how VHS won over technically superior BetaMax for entirely non-technical reasons.

Whether intentional, or the result of having current management make lemon-aid out of lemons left by previous Board decisions, BMW may actually fare well in the transition period with these compromised platforms because it's products look so conventional (grills excepted).
If you design a new EV platform you can make the car look like whatever you want. Only reason Tesla's or whatever looks different is that is what they decided to design and build. Only reason to use an existing platform for an EV is cost and I think every Engineer would say EV's are so different than the ICE that to optimize it the best thing is to start over.

With the benefit of cost using the existing platform I think BMW will struggle as "value" isn't what they are good at and cross shopping EV's, this will put BMW at a disadvantage.

Honda/Acura went the other route and is using the GM platform

https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a3...da%20vehicles.

Quote:
This report lines up with official news out of Honda and GM that the two automakers would team up to build two electric vehicles and the first would go on sale in 2024. In both of these instances, it's likely that, as noted by Honda back when the partnership was announced, Honda will design the vehicles and the Ultium battery platform powering them will be engineered to support Honda’s driving character.
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Last edited by David70; 01-22-2021 at 01:18 PM..
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      01-23-2021, 12:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stein_325i View Post
I don't think its EV platforms that are causing EV's to be ugly, manufacturers are simply trying to be aerodynamic as well as space efficient while having their EV's "stand out" more than regular models, and in order to do so, they try to push new and unusual designs on the public.

EV's can still look great and very "ICE" like as the Mustang Mach-E, Model S, and Porsche Taycan have shown us.
I'm not suggesting that EV's look "ugly". I quite like the iPace, eTron, and Taycan and think the VW ID.4 is really attractive. But, I don't like the jellybean looks of the Model Y. I even bought one of the first i3 models. My point was that the EV's DO look "different" and that was a plus for early adopters, but unknown what effect it will have on mainstream buyers in the near term, which is BMW's window for selling it's ICE-adapted platforms. In the long term, better get used to it because that's where we are headed. I'll have a very nice fully-loaded, low mileage BMW 530e to sell to the "lost causers".
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