BMW CEO Harald Kreuger spoke to a crowd of 2,000 people last week at the official celebration for the company’s 100th anniversary. BMW used that occasion to unveil its Vision Next 100 concept, a highly innovative car that reflects what the company thinks one of its cars might look like in 30 years time. Krueger told his audience, which included former and current BMW executives, German politicians, dealers, suppliers and employees, “At the BMW Group, we are always on a quest for the best solution. It is part of our DNA.”
“Future mobility will connect every area of people’s lives,” Krueger told his audience. “And that’s where we see new opportunities for premium mobility. For a better quality of life, the BMW Group is going to turn data into intelligence. Soon, our cars will be digital chauffeurs and personal companions. They will anticipate what we want to do and make our lives easier for us.”
Krueger also reaffirmed BMW’s commitment to electric cars, as demonstrated by the company’s program that developed the i3 city car and i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. Asked whether last year’s sales of i cars was a disappointment and whether BMW would create a true competitor to the Tesla Model S, Krueger said, “We believe in electro-mobility. E-mobility is a marathon, not a sprint,”he added. He pointed out that BMW sold 30,000 i cars last year worldwide and said the industry needs incentives from individual countries to increase sales.
This week, BMW will host an earnings call with members of the press, where it is expected to announce a major move into connectivity and digitalization. The plan is a key part of its strategy for the next 10 years. Krueger has given only hints of what details may be revealed at the meeting this week, but said the Vision Next 100 demonstrates the kind of technologies that will be on the road in the next 20 to 30 years.
How do you feel about your car being your personal companion? Does it make you think of the bloated, self-indulgent people portrayed in the Disney movie Wall-E, where machines see to every human need? Or does it make you anxious for the future to arrive? Let us know in the comments section.