BMW & MINI to Increase Hybrid and Electric Car Production with Future Proof Strategy

BMW’s sub-brand experiment is evolving rather dramatically. Soon both BMW and MINI will be offering full electric cars (in the form the X3 and MINI hatch in 2020) taking away the one defining characteristic of BMWi to date. According to a recent interview in Automotive News, BMW is investing enormous sums of money to rebuild production line in order to accommodate petrol, hybrid and full electric production in the same plant and even on the same line. This will allow BMW and MINI to offer hybrid and electric versions of its core products more cost effectively and efficiently. It also changes BMWi’s value prop to date.

MINI Vision

Via Automotive news:

“Nobody knows how many electric vehicles you’ll sell in 2020, 2021 and 2025,” BMW CEO Harald Krueger said. “You don’t know how many plug-in hybrids you will sell, and you don’t know how many combustion engines you will sell. The only answer is flexibility [to] deliver all three.”

“The strategy for the future is to integrate all drivetrains, whether it’s purely battery-electric, whether it’s a hybrid or a purely combustion engine,” said Oliver Zipse, BMW AG board member in charge of production. “You will see battery-electric right after diesel right after hybrid on the assembly line. That’s the only way we think to respond to the necessary flexibility because we don’t know the demand.”

He went on to say:

“Everything depends on what the customer demands, but then we need to be able to integrate very fast,” Flor said. “We need to have this production-ready.”

That’s really the key. BMW is admitting that its own forecasts are unclear when it comes to consumer buying habits. And given BMWi and sales to date it’s easy to see why. On one hand you have the success of Tesla and the increasingly desire for electric vehicles from governments around the world. On the other you have markets like the US which seem to be slowly adopting electric versions of seemingly standard cars.

  • Nick Dawson

    July saw yet another milestone for the BMW Group’s unmatched range of electrified vehicles: more than 50,000 BMW i, BMW iPerformance and electrified MINI vehicles have been delivered to customers around the world since the start of the year. The BMW Group now has a total of nine electrified automobiles on the market: sales of these vehicles totalled 50,711 in the first seven months of the year, an increase of 74.8% on the same period last year. This makes the BMW Group the world’s 3rd biggest BEV/PHEV manufacturer. The BMW i3 is the best-selling compact battery-electric vehicle in the Premium Segment worldwide since 2014, with the sales curve showing a clear upward trend.

    • ulrichd

      The keyword is worldwide. In the US July sales of the i3 are down 59.4% from last year and i8 sales are down 66.9%. The US seems to exist in some parallel universe apart from the rest of the developed world. Not in a good way, mind you.

      • Nick Dawson

        Yes, and it’s the same with MINI sales, which in the US were down 11.1% in the first seven months of 2017, compared to global sales which at 208,188 were up 3.5% over the same seven months last year.

  • Nick Dawson

    BMW has a lot of competition in the US. In July, 34 different models of plug-in vehicles were sold in the US, although one might believe that there was only one – as the Tesla Model 3 officially arrived on Friday, July 28.

    Overall, EV sales in the US once again surged ahead, setting a new high for the 22 consecutive month, a significant feat as the traditional automotive market suffered one of its worst months in years, off 7%.

    For July, there was an estimated 15,607 sales in the US, good for almost a 20% gain. With July’s total added into the year, 104,863 plug-in electric vehicles have been sold so far in 2017, which is up 35% from 2016, when 77,619 were moved.

    The winner in July, almost crossing the 2,000 sales mark for the first time, was the 238 mile Chevrolet Bolt EV (with 1,971) sales.  July’s result was the 4th consecutive year-high for the Chevy, and with the Bolt EV going nationwide next month in the US, the plug-in looks to not only cross the 2,000 sales mark in August, but may well be on its way into the 3,000s before the year’s end.

    The attached chart of US EV sales 2017 YTD, is courtesy of Inside EVs