BMW confirms new Mexican plant

By Chris Bruce

BMW M3 Sedan

After over a year of speculation, BMW is finally officially announcing that it’s building a factory in Mexico. The new plant will cost the German automaker roughly $1 billion US and will have a capacity of about 150,000 vehicles a year when complete. However, production won’t begin there until 2019.

The new factory is being built near the city of San Luis Potosí, Mexico, with plans to employ about 1,500 people. Unfortunately, BMW is still mum about which models it’s producing south of the border. Earlier rumors indicated the possibility of the 3 Series, 1 Series and maybe even Mini models there.

BMW says Mexico’s multiple free trade agreements are a major factor in the choice of location of the plant. They make it possible for the automaker to ship models more cheaply to North America, parts of South America and the European Union. “The Americas are among the most important growth markets for the BMW Group. We are continuing our strategy of ‘production follows the market,’” said Harald Krueger, the board’s head of production, in the company’s official announcement.

The Mexican factory comes on the heels of two other major North American investments for BMW. In March, it declared its plan to invest $1 billion by 2016 into the Spartanburg, SC, factory to increase its annual capacity by 150,000 units and to build the X7 SUV. Its Moses Lake, WA, carbon fiber factory is also getting a further $200 million investment. Plus, there’s its roughly $260 million facility coming to Brazil, as well. Scroll down to read the full release about the Bavarian automaker’s latest American factory.

Continue reading BMW confirms new Mexican plant

BMW confirms new Mexican plant originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 03 Jul 2014 16:29:00 EST.

BMW recalling all 2000-06 3 Series models over airbags in US, 1.6M globally

By Chris Bruce

Germany Japan Automotive Supplier

We just can’t seem to get away from recalls involving the faulty airbag inflators supplied by Takata. There are already millions of vehicles in need of repair as a result of these ever-expanding campaigns, and BMW is adding another 1.6 million worldwide. The Bavarian automaker is issuing a recall for certain 3 Series models, including 574,000 of them in the US, to replace the passenger-side, front airbag inflator.

Specifically, the campaign covers 3 Series models from the 2000 through 2006 model years built between May 1999 and August 2006. “It’s only the E46″ generation of cars that are affected, which are now two model revisions old, according to BMW of North America spokesperson Matt Russell, speaking to Autoblog.

These models suffer the same problem as the rest of the vehicles with the faulty inflators. It’s possible for the part to rupture during airbag deployment and possibly spray shrapnel at the occupant. However, according to BMW, the automaker isn’t aware of any actual cases of this happening in any of its vehicles.

This is at least the third inflator recall for these 3 Series models. The first was issued in 2013 to cover 42,000 units of the 2002 and 2003 model years. Barely a month ago, the company also issued a campaign for certain 2001 through 2005 vehicles in hot weather states to inspect both the driver- and passenger-side inflators. With the passenger units being replaced, the analysis “will now focus on the driver-side airbag,” said Russell.

BMW will notify owners if they have one of the potentially affected models and repairs will begin “as soon as we have the parts available,” said Russell. Scroll down to read both BMW’s US and global announcements for the recall.

Continue reading BMW recalling all 2000-06 3 Series models over airbags in US, 1.6M globally

BMW recalling all 2000-06 3 Series models over airbags in US, 1.6M globally originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 16 Jul 2014 15:45:00 EST.

BMW planning six-cylinder i9 hybrid to celebrate centenary?

By Noah Joseph

2015 BMW i8

On the prospect of a new BMW M1 based on the company’s new i8 hybrid, the jury has been in and out so much that we can’t even tell which way it’s likely to go. However, the latest reports coming in from Germany suggest that BMW may have something else up its sleeves. Rather than make a conventional gas-powered version of the i8, Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport says BMW will make a more powerful one.

Tentatively dubbed i9, the hybrid sports car is rumored to pack a six-cylinder internal-combustion engine instead of the i8′s turbo three. Coupled to more potent electric motors, it would figure to produce even more than the 357 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque already on tap in the i8, with further weight reductions to offset the bulkier engine.

Auto Motor und Sport says the mooted model will be produced to celebrate the Bavarian automaker’s 100th anniversary and eclipse the i8′s performance, with a projected 0-60 run in under four seconds en-route to taking the gloves off to crunch the Autobahn in electric bliss. The new i flagship would be another member of the company’s growing electrified family, joining the existing i3 hatchback, upcoming i5 minivan and possible i8 Spyder down the line.

BMW planning six-cylinder i9 hybrid to celebrate centenary? originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 28 Jul 2014 16:29:00 EST.

2015 BMW M4 Convertible is here to put wind in your sails

By Brandon Turkus

2015 BMW M4 Convertible

Each generation of the BMW M3 has included a convertible model. Even the distant E30, the patriarch of the M3 line, had an ultra-rare (only 787 were built) droptop model. The convertible became more common on the successive generations, with the hardtop-convertible E93 being the most recent. Considering this history, there seemed very little doubt that as the M3 became the M4, a convertible would be in the cards. Now, the new droptop has arrived.

Set for its global debut at the 2014 New York Auto Show, the 2015 BMW M4 Convertible features, like its forbearers, everything that’s great about the hardtop variant while adding an unlimited amount of head room. That means the same 3.0-liter, 425-horsepower, 406-pound-foot, twin-turbocharged straight six sits under its domed hood, while either a six-speed stick or a seven-speed M dual-clutch transmission dispatches power to the fat rear tires.

As for specific differences between the hardtop and the new convertible, obviously, the droptop is heavier. A lot heavier. Where an M4 with a six-speed manual tips the scales at 3,530 pounds, the M4 Convertible weighs in at 4,055 pounds. Believe it or not, BMW has actually trimmed 90 pounds from the last-generation M3 convertible, code-named E93. This marginal weight reduction from the third-generation convertible to the fourth is barely half of the 174 pounds BMW was able to subtract when transitioning from M3 Coupe to M4 Coupe.

While we aren’t crazy about 4,000-plus-pound car, BMW claims that cargo space has increased as well. Like the weight savings, though, the extra volume is negligible. There’s 13 cubic feet of trunk space when the roof is up, an increase of 0.7 cubic feet and 7.8 cubic feet of room when the three-piece top is stowed. As is the trend with convertibles nowadays, the roof can be lowered in 20 seconds and at speeds up to 11 miles per hour.

Sales of the 2015 BMW M4 kick off this summer. We’ll have much more on the latest addition to BMW’s M range when it debuts in a few weeks, at the 2014 New York Auto Show. Until then, you can take a look at the full gallery of images of the M4 at the top of the page. You can also scope out BMW’s official press release by scrolling down.

Continue reading 2015 BMW M4 Convertible is here to put wind in your sails

2015 BMW M4 Convertible is here to put wind in your sails originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 03 Apr 2014 18:00:00 EST.


BMW looking to save billions with cost cuts

By Brandon Turkus

Germany Earns BMW

BMW is planning a fairly extensive overhaul in a bid to recoup some its annual costs, with CEO Norbert Reithofer (pictured above) aiming to save three to four billion euro ($4 to $5.4 billion) per year to help keep the company’s profit margins between eight and 10 percent, while also maintaining investments in production expansion and new tech. BMW’s profit margins sat at 9.4 percent in 2013.

According to Automotive News Europe, Reithofer is none too pleased about costs at Mini and on the 1 Series, although neither AN nor its source story, from Germany’s Manager Magazin, elaborate on what steps could be taken to improve losses on either project. That makes it hard to figure out just where the fat will be trimmed from.

What may happen, though, is that BMW attempts to trim 100 million euros ($135 million) from its German labor costs each year; a solution hinted at a few weeks ago by Germany newspaper Muenchner Merkur. While a dramatic cost reduction, 100 million euros still doesn’t begin to even approach the savings envisioned by Reithofer.

Meanwhile, the company is aiming too increase its global annual sales from 2 million units to 2.5 million by 2016, as part of its ongoing battles with Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Part of that plan will involve increasing production in the US, China and Latin America.

BMW looking to save billions with cost cuts originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 16:30:00 EST.


Mercedes fights off late BMW surge to claim 2013 luxury sales crown

By Brandon Turkus

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

The king is dead – long live the king. Mercedes-Benz is now your new US sales champion in the fiercely competitive luxury market, deposing the champ BMW, which has enjoyed annual supremacy for the past two years.

Thanks in no small part to the dynamite launch of the new, affordable CLA-Class, not to mention a redesigned E-Class and hot-selling S-Class, Mercedes moved 33,007 units in December alone, while sales in 2013 were up 14 percent, to 312,534. BMW, meanwhile, managed to sell 309,280 units in 2013. It was far from a sure thing for the Stuttgart-based brand, though, as BMW managed to nearly halve its rival’s sales lead heading into the last month of 2013.

“We saw record sales, flexed our muscles across the entire product line from top to bottom and brought the customer experience to an all-time high,” said Steve Cannon, Mercedes USA’s CEO. While we don’t have individual figures, it seems at first blush that the CLA was really the car that pushed Mercedes over the top.

Since the new model went on sale in late September, Mercedes has enjoyed big sales increases, moving 2,300 units in its first week on sale. Cannon, meanwhile, said just a few weeks back that the CLA was “our best launch in 20 years.” Now the only question is whether Mercedes will be able to maintain its momentum into 2014. If the arrival of the new GLA is anywhere near as successful as the CLA, we don’t think that will be a problem.

Mercedes fights off late BMW surge to claim 2013 luxury sales crown originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 04 Jan 2014 15:15:00 EST.

BMW considering North American engine plant?

By Brandon Turkus

Germany BMW Sales

BMW may be set to expand its US operations with a new engine plant, Bloomberg reports. The Bavarian automaker already has its Spartanburg, SC factory which builds the company’s X3, X5 and X6 crossovers. According to the story, Mexico is also under consideration for the BMW engine factory, with the report claiming a final decision will be made in 2014.

“Establishing local motor manufacturing abroad is more complex than assembling cars, but it’s a logical step for them to eventually start making engines in markets where they’re expanding vehicle production,” Juergen Pieper, an analyst for Bankhaus Metzler tells Bloomberg. Building engines in the US or Mexico would save BMW from having to ship engines for some of its most popular models across the Atlantic.

BMW, for its part, hasn’t said anything concrete. Spokesman Mathias Schmidt is quoted in the story saying, “As part of our long-term growth strategy, we’re frequently looking at different countries for possible locations of future production facilities. No decisions have been made yet, though, for an additional plant.”

What do you think, is this a good idea, or would having a non-German powerplant in its new models remove some of the company’s mystique? Have your say in Comments.

BMW considering North American engine plant? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 13 Dec 2013 11:30:00 EST.

BMW planning to stretch i3 into i5 family hauler?

By Noah Joseph

2014 BMW i3

If you’re sweet on the new BMW i3 but wish it had more space to carry people and stuff, we’ve got good news for you. According to Autocar, BMW is planning on stretching the platform that underpins the i3 to create a new model, expected to be called i5.

The stretch job would add an extra four inches of legroom in the back and another six inches of rear overhang to the benefit of cargo space. The result would create a vehicle longer than the current Mini Countryman – although the next Countryman is likely to be even larger. As Autocar points out, the process of extending the i3′s composte passenger cell likely wouldn’t be as difficult or cost-intensive as lengthening a conventional metal chassis, although the rear doors would need to be re-engineered.

Whether the resulting vehicle would more closely resemble a hatchback, wagon, minivan or something in between remains to be seen, however BMW is said to have already registered the nameplates i1 through i8, signalling that the possibility is at least there to add more members to its new EV family.

BMW planning to stretch i3 into i5 family hauler? originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 30 Nov 2013 17:01:00 EST.

Florida man uses BMW to advertise for a wife

By Brandon Turkus

BMW owner looking for wife

Whether it’s an owl trapped in a Ford or a stripper truck in Tampa, the Sunshine State that is Florida never ceases to amaze us. And this time it’s given us what could very well be the most overt way a car has ever been used to pick up chicks.

The bizarre story involves a BMW 6 Series and a single man looking for love in all the right places, the wrong places and every highway in between. According to a report from ABC News (which you can view below), 38-year-old Russian immigrant Alexander Gorbunov posted a sign in the back window of his drop-top Bimmer that says “Looking For A Wife,” accompanied by his phone number.

“I have received over 500 text messages, my cellphone has died!” the Gurbunov told ABC. “I’ve received 250 calls in one day so far, from France, from the Caribbean, from Jamaica, from Brazil, Switzerland, maybe Finland too.” Gorbunov claims he screens out women he thinks might be too materialistic. “Sometimes uh, girls text me, ‘Hi, nice car.’ First, ‘nice car.’ I feel this lady not for me. First question about car, where you live? Ok, thank you. Bye bye.”

What’s remarkable about Gorbunov’s tactics is that, according to Yahoo! News, it’s worked before. He fitted a sign to the back of a Hummer H2 advertising on behalf of his uncle, which eventually found a match. He also tried a similar tactic when he lived in Russia, although the number of responses was considerably lower.

Continue reading Florida man uses BMW to advertise for a wife

Florida man uses BMW to advertise for a wife originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 23 Dec 2013 11:20:00 EST.


BMW 1 Series dead for 2014

By Brandon Turkus

BMW 135is - blue

BMW is temporarily abandoning the increasingly competitive and popular compact luxury segment, as it’s announced that its 1 Series Coupe and Convertible will be discontinued for the 2014 model year, marking an ignominious end to a line that spawned a pair of excellent high-performance models during its life. Production on the Coupe officially ended in August, while convertible production was taken offline in June.

And while we’re mourning the loss of the 1 Series, we’re left wondering about the status of its replacement, the 2 Series. That car, which we’ve already seen inside and out and know the specs on, is expected to make its debut at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, although it’s unclear just how quickly BMW will get it to showrooms. Assuming BMW doesn’t have a bumper crop of already-built 2013 models to hold them over, that leaves Munich-based manufacturer somewhat vulnerable, particularly as Audi and Mercedes-Benz are both launching new models in the compact-premium space vacated by the 1 Series. Any delay in the arrival of the 2 Series could be bad news for BMW, especially if the public is receptive to the new Audi A3 and CLA-Class (early signs suggest that the baby Benz has traction).

In addition, BMW has made a number of changes across the rest of its lineup which are listed below in the official press release. Some of the notable changes, though, include a revised 445-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 on the 5 Series, a limited-edition Frozen Brilliant White Edition for the 6 Series and the rollout of a new, touchpad-equipped version of iDrive on a number of BMW models. Scroll down for the full press release from BMW.

Continue reading BMW 1 Series dead for 2014

BMW 1 Series dead for 2014 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 18 Oct 2013 11:34:00 EST.