BMW's continued search for a 'green' brand is not only an admission that Efficient Dynamics is probably not going to suffice in the glare of the ecological spotlight, but it is also an indication of the current problems faced by the industry, a Global Insight analyst said on Monday.

Paul Newton was commenting in a research note after BMW's board member for sales and marketing, Stefan Krause, told Automotive News that new US fuel economy standards may force the company into creating a fourth brand to sell ecologically friendly cars.

"BMW must find a way to respond to growing pressure for vehicles with lower emissions and better fuel economy, but it wants to retain the performance premium image of the BMW brand and it fears diluting the quirky premium image of Mini with too many models with different messages, although Mini does have some very low-emission models," Newton said.

"Roll-Royce is rather obviously a non-starter in terms of BMW's attempts to send a 'green' message.

He added that the company has also ruled out using one of the old British brand names it owns as a legacy of its involvement with Rover, such as Riley or Triumph, and it has even evaluated buying other brands such as Saab and Volvo, although neither met its requirements. BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer noted the potential in this area as part of the company's long-term plans last September, but little has been said since, Newton added.

He said BMW's realisation that 'Efficient Dynamics', the BMW brand's current environmental strategy, is not going to be sufficient in terms of its marketing impact is an indication of the intensity of the current spotlight on environmental concerns.

"BMW is widely recognised as one of the most advanced players in the industry in terms of its powertrain engineering programme and it has already developed hybrid options and a hydrogen-fuelled 'ordinary' car.

"The Mini diesel is one of the lowest-emitting cars in the world, and the Efficient Dynamics programme has been heralded by many in the industry as one of the best attempts to address the real-world issues faced by vehicle manufacturers.

"This is plainly not going to be sufficient, however, and it looks increasingly as though BMW will have to launch an all-new brand to champion its environmentally friendly technology," Newton wrote.

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