BMW faces a huge financial challenge to meet tougher CO2 emissions limits that take effect in Europe in 2021. CEO Norbert Reithofer says the cost to comply will be in the billions. He is confident, however, that a new engine family will allow the automaker to meet its EU CO2 target and will also put it ahead of the competition.
Reithofer, 58, also says that BMW is re-thinking how to stay ahead of Audi and Mercedes-Benz as the sales battle between the three premium brands heats up. He was interviewed by Pia Krix, a reporter at Automotive News Europe sister publication Automobilwoche.
How will tougher EU CO2 emission targets affect BMW’s profits?
It will cost us a lot of money to comply with the all the requirements relating to CO2 worldwide. Since 1995, we have reduced our CO2 emissions by more than 30 percent and are now at 133 grams per kilometer. But the last 33 grams will be the most expensive. The figure of 100g/km of CO2 corresponds to an average fleet consumption of about 4 liters per 100 kilometers. We are not talking about sums in the three-figure millions of euros. We’re talking about billions.
Are the French hurting themselves by supporting tough EU CO2 regulations that force German premium brands to expand into the small car segment?
That is precisely the case. This forces premium automakers down into the small-car segment. And if the regulation continues -- let’s say to the 70g/km that the EU Parliament has mentioned -- other companies will no longer be as competitive with their conventional technologies, to put it mildly.