BMW is taking the prospect of building city cars seriously with the launch of Project i. The new research and development unit of the Bavarian automaker is being established to look at alternative solutions for urban vehicles for use in metropolitan cores where access and emissions pose growing difficulties for conventional automobiles to operate.

Although BMW is not ruling out the possibility of launching a fourth brand based on the project's conclusions, it's waiting to see what those findings will be – anticipated to arrive no sooner than the first half of the next decade (by which time things may not be labeled iEverything anymore) – before it makes any decisions. In speaking with Automotive New Europe, chief executive Norbert Reithofer said his company would first determine what form its city cars would take, and then figure out if it would fit in to the BMW line-up, make a new MINI model or justify its own sub-brand. One thing's for sure, though: it won't be a Rolls-Royce.

[Source: Automotive News Europe]