BMW Group’s research and development department has a recently appointed leader – Klaus Froehlich – a new leader to oversee the unit amid a massive reshuffle of powertrain and platform ranges.
Froehlich came in to assume Herbert Diess’s place and legacy this last December, and is tasked to direct the automaker’s expanding platform and engine strategy amid the intense competition at the top of the global luxury segment. BMW – the world’s largest premium carmaker – is increasingly focusing on profits and earnings margins instead of sales, even as the closely following Audi and Mercedes-Benz competitors vowed to overtake the Munich-based automaker before 2020. BMW, among others, made the spectacular move of not only introducing a couple of minivans (the 2 Series Active and Gran Tourer models) but also changing their platforms to front wheel drive, using an architecture co-developed for the Mini brand. Froehlich says BMW’s traditional rwd flavor should have no fear – the front wheel drive models are mostly European affairs, which means the rear wheel drive platforms will be dominant in the long-term future.
HE added the final decision on taking the 1 Series to the front wheel drive platform has not been made yet – even as the sporty settings now work just as well on fwd and rwd. Additionally, the Co2 emissions are not spectacularly different, so the race remains tight for the year’s end decision. Instead, the new generation X1 crossover has been turned towards the front wheel drive platform, allowing it to also showcase a different, bolder, design. He also said that having a mini Mini on the new architecture – speculated by the media to come in at 3,3 meters (closer to the 1950s original) – would be technically feasible, but having such small dimensions would definitely impede available interior space.
Via Automotive News Europe