At the moment, BMW is heavily investing in its future, as it prepares for a heavy dose of digitalization and automation throughout the auto industry. BMW is currently in the process of developing a new i Division car, dubbed iNEXT, new lightweight, autonomous and digital technologies to improve its driving experience for the future. But more importantly, BMW wants to become the global leader in luxury car technology, a desire that trumps the importance of overall sales volume.
Currently, BMW is the best selling luxury car brand, selling 2.2 million units last year which equates to around $102 billion in sales and around $6.4 billion in earnings. However, Mercedes-Benz and Audi are catching up and quickly, threatening to take that top spot away from BMW. But, according to BMW CEO, Harald Krüger, overall sales volume isn’t BMW’s biggest concern.
The BMW brand is looking to expand its lineup of M cars and luxury vehicles, cars that make BMW the most profit, so that it can keep its profit-margins high even if volume dips. The reason for this is that BMW is going to need quite a lot of money to spend on R&D to create the sort of new technologies and new vehicles that will help it become the global leader in automotive technology. So now, BMW’s focus has shifted from being the best-selling luxury automaker to simply being the best luxury automaker.
And there’s a distinct difference between the two. BMW wants to be looked at as a pioneer in the industry, it wants to invent new technologies, create groundbreaking automobiles and lead the automobile into the future. BMW is using projects such as Project i 2.0 to break new technological ground and cement BMW as the leader in the field. When speaking of Project i 2.0, Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management responsible for Development, said “Our focus is clear: we are securing the BMW Group’s position as technological market leader,” to which he continued “With project i 2.0 we will lead the field of autonomous driving. We will turn research projects into new kinds of industrial processes, bringing future technology onto the road.“
So BMW is putting its sales race with Mercedes-Benz and Audi aside and focusing on expanding its model lineup to include more profit-heavy vehicles and use that profit to develop groundbreaking vehicles and technologies. According to Krüger, the sales crown BMW currently wears isn’t as important as being the leader in automotive technology and is willing to give up that crown in the name of that role as leader.
“I have always said that we don’t only look at volumes”.