Blog: Dave LeggettBMW's challenges

Dave Leggett | 5 February 2009

Regular readers of this blog may recall that I had an encounter with a deer on the road not so long ago. The resultant collision sent my car off for salvage and I'm still awaiting a cheque from the insurance company (they don't seem to be in a hurry to cough up). On the upside, it has forced me to get my act together in terms of taking time out to see if manufacturers will loan occasional press cars in this direction.

Last week I was in a BMW 530d M Sport and I needed wheels in a hurry, so my thanks to the helpful chap who made that possible. Impressions of the car? It's big. And in an executive saloon car of that size, with a pretty willing and torquey diesel engine, you just don't realise the speed you are doing...(ah, so that's why the thrusting BMW drivers are always in the fast lane and two inches off my rear bumper).
I see the CO2 rating on that particular car is only 170g/km, which is not bad going at all. Can you really have your cake and eat it with 'efficient dynamics'? Maybe it's a nice idea to promote.
But one thing's for sure: premium brands like BMW face a big challenge in a recession-hit auto market, globally.
BMW has already had to cut production on the 3- and 5- Series models in Germany and the US market (and Europe for that matter) is looking very tough for BMW. BMW's share price has headed south over the last couple of years. It looks niched out on its BMW product range and expecting much more growth from Mini (although there is the SAV to come) or Rolls would be a bit unrealistic, especially now. And big cars are generally not the dish of the day. Essentially, the company looks like it is slowing after a pretty good run. Is 'efficient dynamics' enough to carry it through this downturn in better shape than rivals? Or is it mainly about massaging cost to get better profitability?
I'm on a trip to Austria (Klagenfurt) tomorrow on an event at which Ian Robertson (BMW sales and marketing director) is present, so hopefully I'll get the chance to speak to him about the market. There should also be a chance to see the new Mini Cooper cabrio. Mind you, top-down motoring weather it ain't.

The travelling arrangements are flight from Heathrow to Munich and then change planes there for Austria. Here's hoping Heathrow isn't disrupted by a bit of snow. 

GERMANY: BMW to cut production in February and March


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