Good morning, ladies and gentlemen!
The BMW Group always takes a long-term approach. The business environment remains volatile and marked by uncertainty. We continue to chart our own course. To this end, we make strategic decisions and enter into partnerships. This is how we will continue to secure the future competitiveness of the BMW Group. As I said at the Annual Accounts Press Conference: We are going on the offensive. This means:
I would like to say a few words about all three of these areas. Let’s start with the first topic. You know our targets for the financial year 2017:
After the first quarter, we are well on track.
As I have said, electro-mobility is a marathon. New models will provide us with further momentum.
Our efforts will continue to require extensive investment.
Let’s move on to the second aspect: We inspire customers.
The new BMW 5 Series sets the benchmark in connected services. It also offers a wide range of drive trains and extras. Customers like that. The 5 Series Sedan is in great demand. In the first months since market launch, we have sold more than twice as many cars than we did of its successful predecessor in the same timeframe. We are also very pleased about the strong incoming orders for the plug-in hybrid model and the M Performance variant, which have been on sale since March. In June, the successor to the popular long wheelbase version in China will become available, as well as the Touring. All these new models will generate further impetus for growth. Sales of our flagship BMW 7 Series were 50% higher than in the first quarter of last year. As you know, we want to increase our sales in the upper premium segment significantly by 2020. To achieve this, we are selectively expanding our range in the luxury class.
Also, the entire BMW 4 Series range has been revised. All 4 Series models, including the M4 Coupé and M4 Convertible, are even more sporty, connected and upscale. At MINI, the new Countryman has had a good start, just like the John Cooper Works model. The Plug-in Hybrid will be available in June.
On to our third topic: We are setting the course for the future.
One of the BMW Group’s strengths is its high level of flexibility in all areas.
Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT will take Efficient Dynamics to the next level: Efficient Dynamics 2.0.
The modern diesel drive train is also a component of Efficient Dynamics 2.0. There is much being said about diesel. However, we prefer a more fact-based and rational discussion. I would now like to say something based on the facts. One thing is certain: Diesel plays a key role in Europe’s ambitious climate policy. Clean diesel vehicles of the Euro 6 generation use at least 25 per cent less fuel than comparable petrol models. Therefore they emit at least 15 per cent less CO2. It will not be possible to meet the EU’s strict CO2 targets for 2020 without diesel. We will continue to need clean diesel drive trains in the future. That’s why we equip our new models with the most modern technologies for exhaust gas treatment. As the number of Euro 6 vehicles in the market grows, diesels will account for less and less of overall particulate matter and NOx emissions. Particulate matter is anyway only an issue for diesel cars over 10 years old without a particle filter. Particulate emissions from engines only account for a very small percentage of the total volume. However, in public discussions, “air quality alert” and “banning diesels vehicles” are often mentioned in the same breath. Without the facts, the debate about diesel creates uncertainty. Especially for the owners of older diesel models. Additionally, car owners could be motivated by the right incentives to switch to new technologies – like electro-mobility – or to newer and more efficient combustion engines.
Big cities benefit most from an intelligent mix of solutions, for example: improved traffic flow, support for e-mobility and charging infrastructure, promotion of car-sharing with modern, low-emission vehicles, less congestion and easier parking through digitalisation, as well as environmentally-friendly buses and taxis.
As a global company, we need planning reliability for our investment decisions. The same applies to customers and their purchasing decisions. But: How is anyone supposed to make a decision when every country has different regulations – and every big city has its own concept for low-emission zones? Planning reliability comes from joint solutions. Individual mobility – and diesel – need a coherent framework – both at a national level here in Germany and across the European Union.
With our strategy, we have a clear roadmap for the future. Let me give you two current examples:
We are working intensively with Intel and Mobileye on the development of autonomous vehicles. We are making good progress.
We are now electrifying all our brands and model series. We are creating flexible vehicle architectures for both conventional and electrified drive trains. This enables us to meet the varying needs and demand in the markets. Already today, nine locations worldwide produce nine electrified models, eight of which are plug-in hybrids. From 2021, the iNEXT will be our new innovation spearhead. We have decided to build the iNEXT at our Dingolfing plant.
Together with our Landshut plant, we are expanding Dingolfing as our second competence centre for e-mobility, alongside our Leipzig plant. Dingolfing has much experience in lightweight construction, highly complex model series and connected vehicles. The iNEXT – a larger BMW i vehicle – fits into this spectrum.
Ladies and gentlemen,
All of this shows: We are implementing our strategy, step by step. We anticipate trends in our business environment and react dynamically and flexibly to unexpected changes. Our strong financial foundation and our operational strength enable us to continue to shape our own future.