BMW's running full-bore as it strains to double its profit margin within the next five years. Across all 23 of the company's manufacturing locations, capacity is maxed out at 100-percent, and there's nary an extra Roundel badge to be had. As BMW pushes for a 10-percent profit margin, they're also putting the squeeze on suppliers. To the OEMs, it seems that BMW has shifted its focus from quality and innovative technology to the bottom line. Not helping matters was a public statement by Manfred Scoch, deputy chairman of BMW's supervisory board, criticizing their suppliers for having better profits than the automaker. With their focus on building the Ultimate Driving Machine, BMW has enjoyed a reputation as a favorite customer of automotive suppliers. Scoch's lead balloon didn't go over well with the companies that make parts for BMW, and has stirred further rumblings that there's growing dissatisfaction with BMW's apparent focus shift. Suppliers shot back at BMW, expressing alarm at Scoch's statement and stating that their ability to generate a profit is tied to their innovation and hard work, rather than overcharging BMW. Understandably, suppliers are loath to concede any price breaks on agreements that are already in place.

For its part, BMW's decided that it's more cost effective to increase their ability to make some components in-house. With that in mind, the Leipzig and Regensburg stamping plants are undergoing expansion, and there will be a new Leipzig stamping facility in 2009. At least 200m euros will be invested in Leipzig and Regensburg, but BMW believes it's a better idea to invest its capabilities, rather than pay a supplier to sort it all out. By the time it's all said and done, further integration may happen to keep the slices on the pie chart looking healthy. If they keep ticking off the companies that make the pieces that they bolt together into automobiles, BMW may end up doing it all themselves.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]