Automotive News caught up with BMW Executive Ian Robertson to chat about BMW’s digital future. Robertson was unusually candid, telling the publication:

> “The big catalyst of change is now the digital environment,” said Ian Robertson, BMW board member for sales and marketing. “From customer behavior into the retail environment, we will step it up.”

It may be a little obvious but the statement is still fairly telling. BMW sees the future in companies like Apple and Tesla and understands the massive opportunities there.

> “You also have this external world of digitization and how that plays out in the vehicle and what the vehicle becomes capable of — elements such as artificial intelligence.”

>Experiences at Google, which is testing an autonomous vehicle, raise the question of, “Is your car going to learn?” he said.

What does this mean for BMW? Like Tesla does now, we believe BMW is beginning to look at its cars more as consumer products with higher levels of technology and consumer empowered updates. What this means for products remains to be seen. But for sure what we see with the new 2016 7 Series is just the beginning.