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

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,â€� 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.â€�

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]