BMW’s top brass caught in electric divide

Norbert Reithofer championed the BMW i3, shown here at its world premiere in 2013 in New York. But after lackluster sales, some senior execs are wary of more investment.

Tesla envy among German luxury carmakers remains at a fever pitch, as Automotive News pointed out this month.

Krueger: The pressure is on.

Mercedes-Benz and Audi have accelerated their own electric-car programs as they wrestle with how to react to the U.S. upstart, which has received almost 400,000 preorders for its Model 3.

Now, BMW‘s management board is holding talks aimed at breaking a deadlock over whether to produce new electric cars, including a battery-powered Mini, sources told Reuters. Indeed, BMW’s top executives will skip next week’s Paris auto show to kick it around.

Top management is said to be divided, what with expensive early investments that resulted in only lackluster sales of the i3 electric car.

Robertson: All alone in Paris

Norbert Reithofer championed the i3 project while CEO and, in his new role as supervisory board chairman, is keeping up pressure on his successor, Harald Krueger, to expand BMW’s electric program. But Reuters reports that some other senior executives are unwilling to plough more resources into EVs until i3 sales improve.

Most of BMW’s eight-member management board — which includes Krueger — traditionally attends the press days of the Paris show. But this year, only sales and marketing boss Ian Robertson will be there. The rest, according to the source, will be at a company strategy meeting at the end of September to hash out the EV plan.

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