BMW Wants to Build The Smallest Electric Car in The World
BMW is optimistic for 2021. The start was already very good – and CEO Zipse is pushing the pace with electric cars and digitization.
After three years of falling profits, BMW is aiming for “a significant increase in consolidated earnings before taxes” in 2021. CEO Oliver Zipse said on Wednesday in Munich: “We started the new year with great dynamism and want to return to the pre-crisis level as soon as possible – and go beyond it.” Driven by strong demand in China, the group sold 25 percent more cars worldwide in January and February than a year ago.
Over the year as a whole, sales are expected to grow by five to ten percent. The profit margin in the auto segment (EBIT margin) is expected to increase from 2.7 to six to eight percent of sales. Earnings before taxes, which fell by 27 percent to 5.2 billion euros last year due to the Corona crisis, are expected to increase by at least 10 percent.
The supply situation for semiconductors remains tense
However, CFO Nicolas Peter referred to risks: “We made a strong start to the year. For the rest of the year, however, we expect an increasingly volatile development.” Not only because of Corona: “The supply situation for semiconductors also remains very tense.” BMW ordered chips early on and, unlike other car manufacturers, has so far not lost any production, but “we are working on the subject day and night”.
BMW continues to cut jobs. After about 5,000 jobs were cut last year, the number of employees is expected to “slightly” decrease from just under 121,000, that is to say by up to five percent.
The fully electric SUV iX and the Gran Coupé i4 will be available in 2021
BMW is now accelerating the pace of electric cars. With the luxury SUV iX from Dingolfing and the Gran Coupé i4 from Munich, which will start three months earlier, the group will already have five fully electric cars on the road by the end of the year, said Zipse. In 2023 there will be 13 all-electric models, “from the compact segment to the absolute luxury class”. By 2030, the group wants to sell half of its cars worldwide with only electric motors.
Technology openness remains
However, the Munich-based company continues to attach great importance to openness to technology. “It is unrealistic that the same technologies prevail in every country at the same time,” said Zipse. In parts of the USA and Europe, gasoline and diesel cars remained in demand, especially since the supply of charging stations lagged far behind. It makes economic sense to also offer the cars that are in demand.
In 2025, BMW will start with a new vehicle architecture that is clearly geared towards the electric car and that is suitable for combustion and hydrogen drives at the same time. “We can adapt flexibly to market developments at any time,” said Zipse. While Volkswagen is planning to set up its own battery cell factories and its own exclusive charging network, Zipse is ruling out that for BMW.
BMW had already published the most important figures of the past year: Sales fell by eight percent to 2.3 million cars, sales fell from 104 to 99 billion euros, and profits slumped by a quarter to 3.86 billion euros. The second half of the year went well, especially in China. But that could no longer make up for the losses after the week-long plant closings in spring 2020.