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Tesla Disrupts – BMW boss throws in the towel



. 7 July 2019 by Dr. Maximilian Holland


BMW boss Harald Krüger has resigned his office and cites the recent "enormous changes that have led to more changes than in the last 30 years". It refers to the rapid rise of Tesla 's convincing electric vehicles. They restrict BMW' s offer in the US market and now also cut sales in the most important markets Europe and China threaten to disturb.

  Harald Krueger Harald Krüger / BMW Press Image

Post office after less than 5 years in office. Commentators are of the opinion that its inadequate and undecided response to the rapid shift of premium segments towards electric vehicles, in particular the Rise of Tesla, a big reason for that is that he leaves the office. Krüger said at the recent Annual General Meeting of the BMW Group in May:

"At this time, no one can reliably predict how fast electric mobility will develop or which powertrain will prevail."

This clearly indicates that Kruger thought it would make sense to stay on the fence. The BMW sedan sales have fallen from a cliff to the US market in the last 12 months directly due to Tesla's all-electric Model 3. As we predicted early The Tesla Model 3 has often documented in the past year that it has gained a significant market share in the US in the premium sedan segment.

In the twelve months to June 2019, sales of BMW passenger cars in the US dropped 14.5% from 98,752 to 84,467 a year ago. Tesla has sold around 184,000 Model 3 limousines in the US over the last 12 months. In the last 12 months there were only a few thousand left. In the twelve months to June 2019 Tesla sold in the US about 22,000 Model S sedans.

Tesla Model 3 / Courtesy of Tesla

With the Tesla Model 3's steep ramp for production and delivery in 2018, US sedan sales of the world's leading passenger transport Manufacturer now more than twice as high as those sold by BMW in the US cars. BMW is still doing well in the SUV segment in the US, but they know their SUVs will face similar attacks in late 2020 with the introduction of the Tesla Model Y in the US.

Against this backdrop, Kruger has to admit to saying only in May 2019 that "no one can reliably predict how fast electromobility will develop " shows neither the awareness nor the leadership qualities of a CEO expected at this level.

There are two potential candidates to replace him: Oliver Zipse, Head of Production at BMW, and Klaus Fröhlich, Head of Development. We have recently seen that Fröhlich like Krueger is not convinced of switching to electric vehicles. For Merry, it would therefore make little sense to enter the role of Krueger. The German newspaper FAZ has selected Zipse as a favorite for taking over the CEO position.

BMW i3 / Image courtesy: BMW

BMW had an early start in the EV sector with the release of the i3 in 2013, but has since missed its position. Among the frequent rumors that in recent years, more and more BEVs "come soon", nothing new has actually surfaced. Meanwhile, important BMW employees who worked on the i3 program, including Carsten Breitfeld, Benoit Jacob and Dirk Abendroth, left the car manufacturer for the Chinese EV start-up Byton. This exodus of key EV employees was already underway in 2016 under Kruger's observation and was largely due to the reduction in BMW's original EV plans.

For the year 2019, a Mini BEV city car with a modest reach is planned to be released later this year, but a new all-electric BMW brand will not arrive before the planned launch of the BMW iX3 in 2020. The i4 and iNEXT are expected to follow in 2021. Several other premium automakers (including Jaguar, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes) are ahead of BMW in their BEV offerings, at least trying to provide some response to Tesla's overwhelming EV dominance. The timing and volume of BMW's future EV production plans will obviously be a key issue for Kruger's replacement.

Refresh the recent misleading statements by BMW about the feasibility of full EVs. BMW will certainly need a radical change in his music to compete in the race.


Tags: BMW, BMW i3, Harald Krüger, Tesla, Tesla Model 3


About the author

Dr. Maximilian Holland Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist who seeks to ask questions and promote critical thinking about social and environmental justice, sustainability and the human condition. He has lived and worked in Europe and Asia and currently lives in Barcelona. Follow Max on Twitter @Dr_Maximilian and on MaximilianHolland.com or contact him via LinkedIn.




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