BMW Exec Comments On Tesla Model 3

8 months ago by Steven Loveday 47

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

BMW’s head of sales and marketing, Ian Robertson, believes that Tesla creates healthy competition, and willingly admits that the Silicon Valley startup has paved the way for other automakers. However, his honesty and praise doesn’t come without criticism.

BMW

BMW’s i3 and i8

Robertson told Car and Driver:

“In many ways, I’m very supportive of what Tesla has done. The world needs that sort of new competitor. That isn’t to say that we’re not going to be very competitive with them as well, of course—but Elon Musk has achieved a lot, and I admire what he has done.”

Traditional ICE automakers have been quick to discount Tesla in the past, assuming that the first “successful” startup in 113 years, would not live up to the parenthesized word. Over time, it became more clear that Tesla was likely here to stay, and now with the upcoming monumental release of its mass-marketed affordable Tesla Model 3, the ante is upped.

Robertson was keen to say that Tesla and CEO Elon Musk are truly contributors to the adapting automotive industry. But, he didn’t leave it at that. He continued:

“I think that [Musk] is moving from being a startup to being a full-blown company, and he’s beginning to understand some of the challenges that brings. Those are the sort of challenges we don’t have. We are able to productionize things and move quickly in that regard. The Model 3 will come, but I’m not sure of what volume it will come with, I’m not sure of the price point it will come with, and I’m not sure how good the car [will be].”

Tesla surely does have a disadvantage when it comes to scale and experience. But, thus far, the electric automaker has been able to surge forward and overcome adversity.

Still, Robertson assures that BMW’s iNext, upon its release, will empower the utmost in electrification for the future. BMW has enjoyed the convenience of being able to look to Tesla’s offerings and technology, as a model. Now, BMW hopes to take that model, and make it bigger and better. Unfortunately, it will be at least 2021 before this happens. Is it too late?

Robertson is not concerned with the timeline. BMW already has electric and plug-in offerings. He anticipates that the company will sell 100,000 of those vehicles just this year. Prior to iNext, BMW will be moving to electrify more of its current vehicles, including the Mini Cooper and the X3 subcompact SUV. He concluded:

“We’ll have sold 300,000 or even 400,000 EVs before any [of our major rivals] have even launched them. We think that as we go through the period between now and 2025, that number will go up to maybe 20 percent.”

Source: Car and Driver

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47 responses to "BMW Exec Comments On Tesla Model 3"

  1. BMW disconnected from reality, time will come when even they can see that.

    1. Maxime mineault says:

      Totally agree with you. They will not admit it even when they will go bankruptcy.

      1. CLIVE says:

        BMW filing BK… LOL

    2. Chris O says:

      I think they noticed the writing on the wall but figure there is still plenty of time.

    3. Dave86 says:

      I think BMW & GM ‘get it’s a whole lot better than a lot of car companies, like most of the Japanese automakers.

  2. Stimpy says:

    It’s cute how he considers ~10 mile electric range plugin hybrids an “EV”.

    The only EV BMW has is the i3 and it hasn’t exactly set the world on fire. I say this as an i3 owner.

      1. Dan says:

        Globally, the i3 has done as well as the Model S. Just because it doesn’t sell as well in the US doesn’t mean jack.

        1. philip d says:

          Hardly correct.

          “The first i3 deliveries to retail customers in Europe took place at an official market launch ceremony held in Munich on 15 November 2013. The first delivery to a retail customer in the U.S. took place in May 2014. Global sales passed the 10,000 unit mark in September 2014, and the 25,000 unit milestone in May 2015. As of May 2016, the BMW i3 was available in 50 countries. Global i3 sales passed the 50,000 unit milestone in July 2016.”

          So since released in November of 2013 BMW has sold around 60,000 i3s globally or on pace for around 20,000 a year (25,000 sold globally from May 2015 – July 2016). Telsa sold just over 50,000 Model Ses globally in 2016 alone as well as another 26,000 Model Xs.

          So globally the Model S is selling twice as well as the i3. Even the Model X is sold more in its first year of production.

          Full disclosure, I lease an i3.

          1. Dan says:

            Lol. All you have to do is refresh the insidevs page and click the first story about global sales for 2017. The Leaf is #1 by a wide margin, followed by the Zoe, Model S, i3, Volt in that order.

            I just stick to the facts on global sales numbers (what I actually said in my post). You can keep the self congratulation and the TCO.

            1. Mint says:

              Your fact is for 3 months of 2017.

              The same source you refer to has global estimates for other years:
              http://ev-sales.blogspot.ca/2017/01/world-top-20-december-2016.html
              http://ev-sales.blogspot.ca/2016/01/world-top-20-december-2015-special.html

              2016: Model S 51k, i3 26k
              2015: Model S 50k, i3 24k
              2014: Model S 31k, i3 16k

              1. Dan says:

                Look at the last column of the data that you yourself provided. It gives you market share data. The Tesla has a 7% EV market share and the i3 has a 4% EV market share. Those are practically the same. It’s like comparing Jeb Bush to Ben Carson. Neither of them set the world on fire.

                1. philip d says:

                  My daughter sold half as many girl scout cookies as your daughter but my daughter basically sold as many as your daughter because Nabisco sells a lot more than either of them.

                  I believe that sums up your argument.

                  1. Dan says:

                    I believe that “Orders of Magnitude” is 5th grade math. Brush up on it!

        2. paul smith says:

          No it hasn’t.

        3. paul smith says:

          Model 3 coming soon.

        4. jelloslug says:

          That’s not even close to being correct.

    1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

      Back on Earth, hybrids (plugin or not) can be sold in millions, and make much more difference and sense for environment when comparing with overweight $50k+ long range battery behemoths, defeating whole purpose of electric cars.

      1. Joshua Burstyn says:

        How does a large battery defeat the purpose of an EV? It makes total sense since you cycle the pack less for short trips. Keep spewing garbage though. 151,000km and 5-7% range loss. Only long-range car we have/need.

        Keep trolling though.

      2. Martin Winlow says:

        Yup… except that BMW and Mitsubishi (the only ones rash enough to admit it) say that hardly any of their PIHs are ever plugged in!

        I do wish IEVs would do some research on this issue. Perhaps it would undermine their position too much?

        1. mx says:

          I seriously doubt a BMW 330e owner would not plug it in and give up the extra torque.

          Or an i3 REX running on gas.
          There’s only been a few stories of gov. employee’s driving Volts who didn’t plug in, and you have to wonder if they were trained properly, or at all on how to use the Volt.

    2. William L says:

      +1
      I also say it as an i3 owner, I like my i3 a lot, but I love my Tesla more.

    3. William says:

      That is a great thing to be able to admit. The i3 does have some good attributes, as well as the Tesla Model 3 will have. (when it becomes available for immediate order and delivery)

      When BMW has to go head to head with Tesla in the EV segment (2020 and beyond), I think BMW will have to do some thorough reexamination of their product line for the North American market. Otherwise, BMW is going to be loosing a rather significant market for its once prestigious product line.

    4. Bob says:

      To BMW a car that passes the EU gas milage criteria using hybrid tech, is an EV.

  3. Walt says:

    It’s these guys jobs to spew oral fecal matter, to spin reality in its brightest light. Don’t blame them for that.

  4. menorman says:

    So they expect me to believe that they’re more nimble than a company that is going from reveal to production in 15 months while they shoot for 2021?

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      It certainly appears so! But it’s the job of a company spokesman to spout the company line, even when it’s such obvious B.S. that no informed person would ever swallow it. They can always hope to fool those who are not informed!

  5. ffbj says:

    Contrary to what he believes regarding the advantages BMW has, I would say that Tesla has clearly overcome many of the advantages BMW had or has over Tesla, while the reverse cannot be said.

    1. Rich says:

      What else can he say *shrug*

      Dear BMW board members,
      Under my watch, I missed clear market signals and lost 25% of our top end sales. In response, we spent billions on a product line that hasn’t stopped the losses. Although, we did pick up a few new customers in a new segment. Reluctantly, I must inform you that it’s likely we’re going to lose 25% or more of another market segment. This time it will be our prominent entry level segment. These losses will continue through 2021 until we can use our ultra agile business to create a competitive product. However, I have good news. Even though our sales will continue to dwindle, we continue to make a profit on every vehicle sold.

      Sincerely,
      Your unemployed CEO

      I’m guessing this will never come out of his mouth.

      1. ffbj says:

        True. Cheerleaders seldom cheer for the other team, though they sometimes insult them.

        I’m not sure, but there was shareholder revolt, demanding that management move more to evs. Was that BMW, or Mercedes?

        the point there being that some shareholders are pretty astute, and did not particularly like the direction that BMW was heading in, and demanded a short-cut across a treacherous mountain road, rather than the tried and slow old way.

        So, I’m not really cutting slack for the management, though they eventually gave in to pressure.

        Sure I hope they succeed and I think they can produce some great products. The i3 I would give an overall B-. But they can do better, and probably will.

        1. Sleipner says:

          That was Daimler.

  6. Mil says:

    “Unfortunately, it will be at least 2021 before this happens. Is it too late” Hell yeah, look what Tesla had accomplished in just a year. Within 4 years from now, the model 3 will be the best selling electric car in the world. It will have received thousands of updates and far more mature than the first model 3. They may even have released the model y and utility truck by then too. Even the experience of BMW won’t be able to catch up with a 8 year lead.

  7. TM says:

    The German companies usually plan ahead before they act. 4 yrs from now, people will still buy BMW cars – there will be customers. Better to have a solid offering in 2021 than not. Today there is a 1% market penetration of EVs, There will still be a lot of market share left to win in 4 yrs.

    1. WARREN says:

      And BMW has a responsibility to he profitable. And with near record years recently, the same can’t be said of Tesla”s profitability even with the high price tags of their current offerings. Many act like BMW has no experience in electric cars, and forget years ago they had the Mini E, and BMW active E also. And remember that while the US market is different, BMW plug in’s outsell the Tesla in many of the European markets.

      1. CLIVE says:

        Correct, you are quite worldly with your info.

        People post with no understanding as to what they are even talking about. Bunch of baseless trolls.

        1. pjwood1 says:

          Too often, trolling for profit comes right out of the value the customer receives. If a company lacks compelling products without sufficient cost inside them, there’s no blaming anyone else.

  8. guyinacar says:

    OMG. The BEV fanbois are in full effect today. You purists do realize that Germany had pure BEVs 140 years ago, right? Google the Flocken elektowagen, as but one example of an early German BEV. Now, after a century and a half, pure BEVs are finally cracking 1% of the worldwide cars-currently-in-use again. But, OMG, relax. Too self-congratulatory. Let’s see how the PHEV space matures, and how the TCO of BEVs plays out. You may be comparing a 12 year old laptop (useless) vs a 12 year old snowblower (just fine). It’s hard to say yet. Premature. BMW is showing respect to Tesla and Musk, but taking a more conservative approach, with cars on like the 40e, 225xe, and 330e. IMHO, all of those could double current AER with Samsung batteries becoming available shortly, and that would net out to 80% electric for 80% of consumers.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Are we supposed to be impressed that BMW made some electric cars 140 years ago? Well, I’m sure they can easily capture a large segment of the market for EVs with a top speed of 25 MPH, a range of <100 miles, and no provision for either heating or air conditioning of the cabin, nor any provision for fast charging.

      In other words, they can no doubt make something to capture the market segment of those who want an EV but think the Twizy is too expensive!

      Are you also impressed that Kodak invented the digital camera? Of course, they then shelved the tech and ignored it while other companies developed and commercialized that tech. How did that work out for Kodak, again? Hmmmm?

  9. Rich says:

    Relax. Keep in mind some of us have been waiting 10 years to see the BEV arrive in “large” numbers. Lots of us are interested in seeing a much larger BEV product offering. We tend to poke traditional automakers in hopes of faster time to market. No one wants to see BMW fail. BMW has been one of the leaders in this transition. You’re right, there are unknowns. However, battery longevity has been proven by Tesla and GM. I don’t think battery longevity should be a factor unless automakers force it to be through planned obsolescence or poor design. I look forward to seeing BMW double range in all their PHEVs.

  10. Kdawg says:

    i Am iTired of iNames like iNext.

  11. G. Richard Raab says:

    If BMW sells only 20% of Today’s volume as EVs, then they will be gone, since it is a near certainty that new ICE sales will be gone by 2025. In fact, by 2020, I think that ICE sales will be less than 1/2 of what they are today.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “In fact, by 2020, I think that ICE sales will be less than 1/2 of what they are today.”

      You think the PEV (Plug-in EV) market is going to grow from less than 2% today, to more than 50% of the market, in only three years? Gosh, and I thought –I– was overly optimistic about how fast the EV revolution is going to advance!

      Reality check: Even if PEV sales grow at a sustained 50% per year starting this year, which seems rather faster than is likely, it would still take 8 years to reach a 50% market share.

  12. Nix says:

    I have no problem with BMW’s marketing plan. They have a large existing customer base they need to bring along with them as they go electric. Tesla doesn’t have decades of customers they have to cater to.

    Currently their tactic for transitioning their customer base is very clear. Put just enough battery into their PHEV’s, that after tax incentives it is peppier and better MPG than their similarly priced ICE car. Then let their customers do as much of an apples-to-apples comparison as possible.

    If BMW put 50+ mile batteries in them today, they would be as expensive as their high performance engine models. That’s not the price point where a PHEV would be competitive in their product lineup.

    It is an entirely reasonable marketing strategy. In fact, it is the exact same winning strategy that put the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV high on the list of EV/PHEV sales for years.

    Meanwhile, BMW did the MiniE, followed by the ActiveE, followed by the i3. Which is a lot more pure EV’s than quite a few other companies.

    I know it isn’t popular with EV fans to hear this, but BMW very much has a viable plan to move their line of EV’s and PHEV’s forward even without having direct Tesla competitor cars at this point. Especially in the EU market, which is where they need to succeed first, with them being a German company.

    As batteries have improved, they have shown that they are plowing those battery improvements back into their cars, like with the i3. As long as they keep doing that, they very much have a path forward as EV sales work their way up from the single digits.

    It’s not like they are Honda or Mazda….

    1. janesh says:

      I totaly agree with you as a Dutch i3 owner.

  13. Brendan says:

    BMW is one of the key drivers of EV technology outside of Tesla. I hope they keep innovating and soon release a few more BEVS in addition to the i3.

  14. leafowner says:

    Tesla has more of a buzz than BMW at this time — Sorry but the 3 Series is going to take a huge hit when the Model 3 is released. Bet on it.