Automakers are between the hammer and the anvil these days, as they need to invest more than usual into new technologies (electrification, autonomous, connected cars, etc) while still keeping a balance between revenues and costs.
BMW i8 Production
BMW for example spent €5.16 billion on R&D last year, which was 5.5% of revenues, but in 2017 through 2019 the company still intends to spend between 5.5 to 6% of revenues.
To assist on the balance sheet side, the German manufacturer will cut costs, decreasing the number of engines and equipment choices for its products.
BMW's finance chief Nicolas Peter said:
"We have over 100 steering wheels on offer. Do we need that many variants?"
"In the 5 series we have four diesel engines on offer. I would not bet on there being four diesel engines on offer in the next generation vehicle,"
In the U.S., BMW will drop its manual gear shift in the 2 series Coupe, as well as in the entry-level versions of the new 5 series diesel.
According to BMW, plug-ins (at least now) are less profitable than conventional models, which also makes the transition to electrification more demanding.