FRANKFURT — With new entries coming at the top of its lineup, BMW is launching a black-and-white logo it will use to market its elite models globally.
The new look debuted at the Frankfurt auto show and will be used for the existing 7 series and i8 coupe and the coming 8-series coupe and convertible, i8 roadster and X7 large SUV. It combines a black-and-white version of the automaker's roundel first used a century ago with the company's full German name — Bayerische Motoren Werke — written out in full. The vehicles themselves will be referred to more simply as the 7, the 8 and the X7.
"We have a strong history of 100 years, and we think that's something we should use," said Hildegard Wortmann, senior vice president of brand BMW. "It's a new visual identity [that's] more involving, more emotional."
BMW will maintain the German spelling of the company name in the logo for its upper-end models even in the U.S.
Wortmann called the new positioning a more modern approach. She likened it to a common tactic used in the fashion industry in which designers put their full names on their most luxurious lines and use their initials to brand their more affordable lines.
The new luxury branding will be used only in the automaker's communications activities. Dealerships won't be required to update any signage or elements of their buildings, a spokesman said.
BMW is contemplating how to strengthen its relationship with buyers of its higher-end models, perhaps through special services. Specifics haven't been determined, but the brand has floated ideas such as offering pickup and drop-off service appointments or giving owners the chance to get into another elite model on a limited basis. A 7-series driver who needs more seating capacity for a day or two could borrow an X7, for instance.
Wortmann also underscored BMW's connection to its "ultimate driving machine" slogan despite the rapid changes ahead in the industry. Even with the advent of new technologies — such as more autonomous driving features or electric drive vehicles — the longtime slogan "stays absolutely relevant," she said.
"Core is joy," Wortmann said. "It doesn't matter if you're being driven or [using] electric drive, there's a sincere feeling of joy you want to experience."