Over the past five years under the tenure of Harald Krüger, BMW is said to have lost ground to Mercedes-Benz in the luxury vehicle market. During the last few decades, the perennial foes have vied for the top spot in the luxury segment, while others such as Audi have lingered in the background, as Lexus and now Genesis have established themselves as forces to be reckoned with. This year, BMW has consistently outsold Mercedes in the U.S., but the global market has been another story.
In a recent email in which he addressed employees the day after assuming his new role, BMW’s freshly minted CEO Oliver Zipse is urging those who make the company function to embrace transformation, and to consider and search for innovative ways to help outsell Mercedes. The message comes at a time when automakers the world over are being forced to completely rethink their business models and future plans, as the concepts of the personal automobile and transportation are completely reconsidered, and age-old rivals like BMW and Mercedes have joined forces to collaborate on mobility services, autonomous technology, and even vehicle platforms.
Zipse went on to explain in his memo that, “Instead of blaming the current situation, conditions, political landscape or particular individuals, a positive spirit will enable us to seize the opportunities available to us. Such a positive spirit will be reflected in our culture: the harder the job, the more innovative our solution.”
He then continued by explaining, “We don’t always have to be first, but we most certainly have to be far better than our competitors in everything that we do. This applies not only to our products and services, but also to our processes and structures, as well as our costs.”
Zipse concluded his message by saying that BMW has already begun to narrow the sales gap between themselves and Mercedes, and that BMW’s flexible production methods—which are the envy of many other automakers—will enable continued optimization and success, thanks to their capability to scale production of electric-powered and combustion engine vehicles which are produced together on the same manufacturing lines.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]