Harald Krüger, who has replaced Norbert Reithofer as BMW’s CEO starting this May, would like to turn BMW more towards the digital world and work on the brand appeal – the “digital cool factor.” Growing the digital end of BMW’s business will become a priority for the new leadership, a point emphasized in Frankfurt by Ian Robertson, Head of BMW Sales and Marketing.

“The big catalyst of change is now the digital environment,” said Robertson. “From customer behavior into the retail environment, we will step it up.”

In vehicles, improved connectivity and even autonomous driving “will weave itself into all of our next architectures,” he said in an interview for AutoNews. “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.”


The automotive industry and information technology are likely to converge and BMW aims to stay ahead of the curve. “Maybe the question is, how capable is the auto industry of being more engaged in the IT industry? I think very capable.” The number of lines of computer code in the redesigned 7 Series sedan is “mind-blowing,” Robertson said.

BMW’s latest 7 Series is the greatest car ever built by the Bavarians and it includes some of the highest-tech possible in a car now, starting with autonomous driving features and ending with self-parking systems which unfortunately are not yet available in the US.

Robertson believes that improvements in the digital world will make it easier to update cars with the latest technology and simplify features — just like an iPhone.