Wednesday, March 18, 2015

BMW: Next i-Branded Car to Arrive After 2020

BMW might be enjoying the combined success of its i3 electric city car and i8 plug-in hybrid sports car, but it isn’t about to expand its i-brand lineup with a third plug-in model any time soon.
Instead, it plans on spending the next five years working on the third i-brand model while providing incremental improvements to its existing i3 and i8 models
That’s the official word from BMW Group head of research and development Klaus Froehlich, who told Automotive News Europe (via Autobloggreen) last week that BMW is just starting the process of researching and ‘brainstorming’ model ideas for the next car to wear the ‘i’ badge, with the aim of bringing said model to market some time after 2020.
BMW might be enjoying the combined success of its i3 electric city car and i8
Disputing claims from many different media outlets that BMW has already chosen a crossover-variant for its next i-branded plug-in, Froehlich said that the luxury automaker is far from committing to any one model or style at the moment.
“We’re still in the strategic research phase where we brainstorm,” he said. “Teams that start with a white sheet of paper. They talk with customers, hold workshops, then present their ideas and we decide.”
The vehicle, he indicated, would be designed in a similar fashion to the BMW i3 and i8: built from the ground-up as a brand-new model, with no repackaging or tie-over to existing BMW Group models. Like both of the existing i-branded models on sale, Froehlich said a third i-branded vehicle would be similarly cutting-edge, adding that for BMW, the i-brand is a place where it can introduce new and innovative technologies which eventually make their way into mainstream BMW models.