BMW: ‘electric car market not ripe yet’
On the BMW stand at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the brand’s Europe Sales Manager, Jean-Philippe Parain, points out to Mercedes-Benz’s sales techniques in Belgium. The former CEO of BMW Belux also hints on the brand’s EV offensive. BMW will launch 25 electrified and 12 electric cars. According to him, the electric car market is not yet ripe enough to grow.
For this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW has decided to reduce investments. The stand is smaller than the previous years, yet the brand ensures that it still believes in international motor shows. “Like Brussels, Frankfurt stays an essential platform. We can develop new concept cars. We just spread our budget differently. We now invest in digital. It’s linked to our customers’ behavior,” declares Jean-Philippe Parain.
In Belgium, BMW just lost its place to Mercedes-Benz, but the Sales Manager isn’t bothered. “We’re always motivated by the race to volumes and first place, but we have profitability objectives that are important to us and the network. We haven’t decided to follow Mercedes in certain methods,” he explains.
But what differentiates both brands and why is the Daimler child now sitting in front? “I’m not saying they reduced their profitability. It’s just true that when you register loads of cars without having a single client, you can’t sell them for as much as if they were new,” adds Mr. Parain.
The Manager points out to Mercedes-Benz’s sales techniques. “Mercedes dealerships now have exceeding stocks, and that puts pressure on the premium market. I’m not sure that Mr. Källenius (CEO of Daimler) is very happy. For our part, we try and sell cars to clients,” continues Jean-Philippe Parain.
The former CEO of BMW Belux still has plenty of confidence in his brand. He points out to the fact that BMW is still number one in the European premium car market. 1 Series and 3 Series are still selling well and represent most of the orders.
One domain in which BMW is lagging is electric vehicles. While it was one of the first on the scene with the i3, it hasn’t followed it with any other EV product. On the Frankfurt Motor Show’s stands, BMW is the only big brand without a new electric vehicle to showcase. However, things are about to change.
“We have a major offensive coming. In 2023, we’ll have 25 electrified products and 12 electric cars. The line is clear with the Mini this year, the iX3 next year, and then the iNext,” develops the Sales Manager. In spite of the lurking CO2 targets of 2021, BMW prefers to wait. “We want great product flexibility. The market is not ripe yet for an electric car offer. We see it with the Audi e-tron. There’s a new-car-effect but then sales drop,” adds Jean-Philippe Parain.