BMW shifts past German rivals’ diesel woes with electric push

FRANKFURTBMW AG is setting its sights on the future, with plans to boost spending on electric cars and self-driving features to move on from the German auto industry’s diesel woes.

A day after agreeing to upgrade newer diesel cars and offer trade-in incentives on older models, BMW underscored its focus on managing the transition to an era of electric-powered robo-taxis. The Munich-based manufacturer has also taken on a more combative tone, pointing the finger at rivals Volkswagen AG (VW) and Daimler AG as being behind the curve.

“No established competitor has been able to put as many electrified vehicles onto the roads as we have,” CEO Harald Krueger said yesterday.

The company will also be able to build conventional, hybrid and battery-powered variants on the same assembly lines, with such flexibility being a “key to success in times of volatility and uncertain forecasts”, he said.

BMW had the most decisive response to the emergency diesel talks in Berlin on Wednesday that sought to stave off looming driving bans in cities. It announced an offer of €2,000 (RM10,278) to trade in older diesel cars for an electrified or new diesel model, while VW and Daimler lacked details. BMW is also the only carmaker offering a European Unionwide incentive, Krueger said on a conference call.

The maker of BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce cars also has a lower burden to bear in the deal with the German government, recalling 300,000 cars compared to 900,000 for Daimler and 3.8 million for VW. — Bloomberg