Some of the executives behind BMW’s “i” sub-brand have been recruited by a Chinese electric-car company, report says.
China is really determined to speed up the research and development of the electric technology, aiming to become one of the world’s leaders of the trend. The local automakers have been lately pushing hard towards this goal by announcing ambitious projects and targets. And with some serious financial support, they also afford to steal “heads” from the more experienced oversees rival companies. According to Bloomberg, Future Mobility – a Chinese electric-maker backed by Tencent Holdings and Foxconn Technology Group – has recently persuaded a team of managers from BMW’s “i” division to join them.
Therefore, Dirk Abendroth, Benoit Jacob and Henrik Wenders were named vice presidents of software and connectivity, design, and marketing, respectively. The new team will thus join Carsten Breitfeld, the former project manager for BMW’s i8 plug-in model, who was also hired last month by Future Mobility as chief executive officer. Coincidently or not, these moves come after the demand for “i” models has been on a downward slope lately. Furthermore, besides Breitfeld, the company has convinced Daniel Kirchert, the former head of Infiniti China, to join as chief operations officer.
It will prove a tough quest for BMW to spur again the sales of its plug-in line-up, as increasingly more models are emerging on the market. However, the premium automaker plans to expand its electric offering in the future, including a plug-in hybrid Mini and an open-top version of the BMW i8.