As expected, the recently adjusted U.S. CAFE requirements have put pressure on automakers. Specifically brands focused on performance and luxury must do the most to change their impact on the environment. One company that falls into this category is BMW. Last September CEO Norbert Reithofer hinted that the possible creation of a forth brand to mesh with BMW, Rolls-Royce and MINI is in the company's longterm plans through 2020. However, no specific details were uncovered until recently. The German manufacturer has come forward to state it is feeling the fuel economy crunch. If established a fourth brand would offer fuel sipping front-wheel drive vehicles that do not necessarily fit in with other current brand options. While the BMW lineup has dabbled with hydrogen power and features a range of diesel solutions, executives do not want to taint its performance image.
The resort to an additional brand comes after analyzing a few more simple solutions. The possibility of a MINI transformation into an economy image was dropped due to fear of hurting the unique automobile's design appeal with too many models (although somehow they decided it's a good idea to make a MINI SUV). The BMW Group has also shot down the possibility of purchasing any brands currently up for sale by other manufacturers, since none meet their green image needs. They have also passed over the notion of revitalizing a dead brand, like Triumph or Riley, which are BMW owned. So what's on the horizon? That's open to debate, but a fourth brand strictly focused on fuel economy and emissions is a distinct possibility.
[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]