German automotive giant BMW announced Friday that Harald Krüger, Chief Executive, will not seek a second term as head of the company. This announcement comes on the heels of BMW issuing a profit warning to its shareholders in March and overall slow sales. It is worth noting that BMW has been reluctant to embrace changes in the global automotive market. Last month, Director of Development Klaus Frölich shocked interviewers by emphatically stating, ““There are no customer requests for BEVs (battery-electric vehicles). None.There are regulator requests for BEVs, but no customer requests. If we have a big offer, a big incentive, we could flood Europe and sell a million (BEV) cars but Europeans won’t buy these things.” Despite Mr. Frölich’s comments, BMW is planning to roll-out approximately 25 new BEVs and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) by the year 2025.
BMW’s supervisory board will discuss naming a successor to Krüger when it meets again on July 18, and added that Mr. Krüger will continue to lead the company until a replacement is found. This change in management comes as the luxury brand struggles to deal with a slowing world economy and a hostile trade environment. Harsher emissions standards are also forcing BMW to develop new all-electric models and gradually phase out their line of diesel-powered cars. In addition to issuing a profit warning earlier this year, BMW has also declared a hiring freeze in order to cut costs. Shares of BMW on European markets fell slightly upon the announcement of Mr. Krüger’s departure.
Transport and Environment, one of Europe’s most prominent environmental groups recently criticized BMW for their lack of BEV models available to consumers. The organization noted that both the U.S. and China have more all-electric vehicles on their markets than Europe and accused the company of holding back potential BEVs for profit reasons. “Carmakers are playing a high-risk game where they’re deliberately postponing sales of cleaner cars to maximize SUV-fueled profits. It may please their shareholders but it’s a tragedy for our planet,” Transport and Environment’s Clean Vehicles Manager Julia Policanova recently stated. “Governments need to be much more forceful when it comes to promoting zero-emission vehicles, in particular by reforming vehicle taxation and rolling out charge points.” Poliscanova also noted gas-powered SUVs emit 133 grams of CO2 per kilometer, while cars also running on gas averaged only 120 grams.
In addition to rolling out new all-electric and hybrid models, there are signs that BMW is taking affirmative steps towards a greener future. Last month, the company announced that it will refurbish and expand one of its factories in Dingolfing, Germany that produces batteries for their all-electric line of cars. The factory in Dingolfing currently builds 5 and 7 Series models, including plug-in versions of the sedans. The factory will cover approximately 65,000 square feet and will assemble the next generation of BMW’s batteries, which are expected to me smaller and more efficient.
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Source | Image: BMW