Is Tom Cruise the Kiss of Death? i Electric Cars in MI:4 Trailer

Considering that its CEO seems more afraid to see the i sub-brand of BMW electric cars succeed than fail, I was a bit surprised to see BMW’s PR machine putting the i in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Then I started hearing the CIA in my fillings again. Grab your tin-hats, kids! This is gonna get weird.

Got your hat? Good.

It seems to me that MI:4, like the rest of Tom Cruise’s movies since he enslaved Katie Holmes flipped out on Oprah, is doomed to relative failure. BMW’s anti-electric CEO is a smart guy. He probably employs smart people whenever possible. The same kind of smart people who shoved BMW’s not-quite-a-Miata Z3 roadster into a James Bond movie back in the 90s and bought it instant street cred. The same kind of smart people who landed an outgoing 7 series a starring role in the Transporter as a way to boost that body’s value and hedge the company’s bets against Chris Bangle’s outrageous (for its time) flame-surfaced 7.

Those smart people, I think, are (not so quietly) hoping the i sub-brand fails, so they can go on building something more familiar … like internal-combustion powered sedans.

Think that’s too paranoid? I dunno – if I sold “widget x”, and I’d been (profitably!) producing “widget x” for nearly a century, and I knew “widget x” inside and out … I’d feel pretty nervous about a public that seemed to be embracing “widget y” with open arms. That would be doubly true, of course, if I couldn’t build a “widget y” on my own, and required outside help to source, for example, a “widget y” battery or a “widget y” motor. Could my team of expert “widget x” makers be trained to make “widget y”? How much would that cost me? Would they even want to be trained? Would their union’s rules even allow me to train them?

Big, scary questions for makers of any widget x, for sure – and if you’re BMW? Makers of “the ultimate driving (widget x)”? Extra scary.

Enter: Tom Cruise. His project’s not obviously doomed to fail, of course, but he’s so far away from what mainstream well-balanced Americans consider “normal” that “Oh, that’s the Tom Cruise car” might be just enough to sink public perception of what is already an expensive, fought-from-within experiment in radical, futuristic styling.

Hopefully, there won’t be enough people interested in MI:4 to sway the i cars one way or the other. They should be good enough, in other words, to stand (or fall!) on their own.

Sources: YouTube, the voices.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.