BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer told the other German automakers to set aside fears related to the future of electric vehicles and confidently embrace the technology.
“Germany is respected and admired the world over for its engineering expertise and powers of innovation, but ‘German angst’ is also a concept the rest of the world is familiar with,” Reithofer said in Munich. “We like to engage in long and fearful discussions because we Germans tend to see more problems than opportunities, and it is no different with electro-mobility.”
Although demand for EVs is still lower than automakers’ forecasts, BMW is confident that its i3 city car EV will have the expected success. As BMW tries to keep its lead over Audi and Mercedes, the i3 is of utmost importance for the automaker’s image. The German automaker has already began a marketing campaign for the i3, including Internet and printed ads and also several online videos.
Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, predicts that electric vehicles will account for between 2% and 3% of the global auto market by 2020, compared with hybrids which will hold around 12%.
BMW says that the loss caused by the financial crisis in Europe will be offset by increasing demand in the US and China, and also by the 11 new models to be introduced this year, including the i3 EV and the coupe-like 3-Series GT. During the first four months of this year BMW managed to keep its sales lead thanks to increased demand for the X1 SUV and the 3-Series sedan and wagon.