July 5, 2003 |
German automaker BMW launches its new-model offensive in earnest today as its redesigned 5-Series cars go on sale in Europe -- a make-or-break product launch that will determine profit for years to come. The 5-Series, wedged between the smaller, mass-market 3-Series cars and the high-end 7-Series, represented only about 20% of BMW's sales volume last year but contributed 35% to 40% of the automaker's profit.
June 25, 2003 |
Protests about the environmental and safety records of sport utility vehicles don't seem to be doing much to dissuade automakers from thinking that there's still a lot of life left in the SUV market. Major automakers including Ford, Volkswagen, Chrysler, Nissan, Hyundai and Honda all are planning to introduce new SUV models in the next few years. Up soonest, though, is one from BMW, the X3, a "baby Bimmer" version of the company's successful X5 line of mid-size luxury SUVs.
January 22, 2003 |
A new Big Three is gearing up to capture the hearts and dollars of well-heeled American car buyers. Instead of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, the battle is among German manufacturers -- Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and BMW -- who are taking over the ultra-luxury market. Volkswagen bought Rolls-Royce and Bentley in 1998, but BMW scored a coup by acquiring rights to the Rolls-Royce name. BMW allowed VW to use the Rolls-Royce name for five years.
December 18, 2002 |
Some cognoscenti sniff at BMW's Z3 roadster because of its somewhat soft lines and an appearance that is closer to cute and cuddly than to mean and muscular. Still, next to Mazda's Miata, also sniffed at by some as too gentle-looking, the road- ster seen most often around Southern California is the Z3. Someone must like it. Now, though, the Z3 is gone, replaced by BMW's Z4. And nobody will be able to stick this nifty two-seater into a gender cubbyhole. The Z4 is a great car to drive.
August 21, 2002 |
BMW recalled 20,500 more of its 1999-model 323i and 328i sedans because side air bags may inflate unexpectedly and cause head injuries, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. The air bags might deploy if the car hits a large pothole or is struck with force that wouldn't cause significant damage, according to the government agency. "A small number of minor abrasions and bruises" have been reported as a result of unexpected deployments, a BMW spokesman said.
March 3, 2002 |
At first glance, things have never looked better for BMW. Bayerische Motoren Werke has quadrupled its U.S. sales in the last 10 years, zooming from the No. 5 luxury nameplate in 1995 to No. 2 last year. The company is preparing some bold moves, including the planning of a small BMW 1-series; reintroduction of the sporty two-door 6-series and the storied Mini brand; and production of a luxury limousine for Rolls Royce, the marque it takes over Jan. 1. BMW also is very profitable, earning $1.
November 7, 2001 |
Except for the overrepresentation of BMWs in the parking lot, there's nothing about the Designworks/USA building that speaks to its purpose. That's the way it is supposed to be. In the closed world of auto design, where secrets are meant to be kept, companies until recently have been loath to advertise the presence of their styling studios. They still don't let anyone but insiders wander around inside.
July 4, 2001 |
The auto industry is engaged in a hydrogen war whose stakes are nothing less than supremacy in marketing the fuel that makes possible a zero-emission automotive power source that eliminates pollution--and pumps huge profits into corporate coffers. First, though, someone has to develop an affordable, consumer-friendly system that, unlike the personal computer industry's competing Microsoft and Macintosh operating systems, is standardized for universal use.
May 4, 2001 |
BMW is the driving force behind a series of short Internet films from some of the world's most acclaimed directors, including Ang Lee, John Frankenheimer, Wong Kar-Wai and Guy Ritchie, all aimed at promoting the German auto maker. But no one's calling the project--five, five-minute Internet filmlets collectively called "The Hire"--an ad campaign.