Let Munich go bankrupt!

Well, not quite. A couple of interesting stories in Autocar this week though about our friend BMW:

  1. BMW canceled their plans to build a four door coupe à la Merc CLS and Porsche Panamera. They expect the volume to be far lower due to the economy.

  2. BMW is looking at getting some German government money through their financial arm. They are looking a slice of a bank-rescue scheme. BMW’s CEO says he expects a profit both this year and next.

Lost of companies get bailouts from the governments.

Heard in the German news that OPEL (GM) also asked. And there was talk of them going solo.


B-art: You mean Opel may separate from GM? Ford of Europe is probably the most valuable brand in the European market, mho. Wouldn’t it be ironic if in 10 years, Ford and the leftovers of GM could only be bought in Europe?

I understand that that was one of the options for them.
Dont know what is the status at the moment.

More info

and as Opel is called Vauxhall in the UK and SAAB is using Opel platforms, I would say they should join hands.


not to stray too far off topic, but why dose SAAB ‘sleep around’ with every other brand? Saabaru, this thing you are talking about.

I like there ads right now (in the US), 'SAAB drivers always are attracted to the color red" maybe it is due to them having to boost hard to make any power?

I think BMW will turn out fine, they make a good product, it is sold at a somewhat reasonable price and tend to stay on the cusp of cool

I think there could be a lot of hurt to go around the auto industry, including to BMW. It all depends on who stops buying cars. Right now, it seems like it is the volume makes that are feeling the biggest pinch, however the numbers are strange. Check this: in Canada, GM and Honda lost 20-30%, but Ford, Toyota, Nissan and Mazda all showed growth. Strange…

BMW could be hurt hard if the top end of the luxury market dries up, like it did 15 years ago after the launch of the 850. BMW, especially in the US, has moved everything they make up market. There are no 4 cyl. for sale here anymore and the prices reflect that. Their newest models are all big and high end too, X6, 7 series, X5. These could turn into flops pretty quickly.

You have to wonder about Porsche too. They are about to drop the Panamera into a market where people are down sizing. Very bad timing.

It seems that companies that are fast & flexible with knowledge of how to make money on the low end could be the big winners of the next five years. Fiat perhaps? Honda?

At least we’ll be entertained!

SAAB is part of the GM group so they will share parts/platforms to save costs.

Germany is indeed interesting to watch.
Today on german news German car production was 5,7 million in 2007 5,5 in 2008 and they will not estimate any figurs for 2009 as they really don’t know.

Germany is a big car country with 6 car manufacturers
-Daimler(Mercedes, Maybach)

-Honda Europe

Other thing I am interested in to see is what the Motorcycle industry is going to do.
Rumors are that people may down size to Motorcycle and/or scooter to cut cost, beat traffic, and reduce fuel consumption.

Als i see motorcycle brands just go dorment for a while and than beeing picked up as a niche brand/product in later years. Bit like the Mini. This could be done with what you say the brands that ,at this moment, do not perform. Just let the healthy parts “sit this storm out” and survive.

In the mean time they should partly re-invent them selves as individual transportation is not going away in the near future.


b-art: I hadn’t thought of motorcycles benefiting from the economic problems. In Europe, I can see the trend developing, but I think they will have problems in NA. There aren’t too many transportation oriented low end bikes. The makers concentrate more on the Harley style cruiser or sports bikes that go for more money.

Germany: Don’t forget Ford’s big Cologne facility either.

My bad did forget that one.

In motorcycles losts of monny used to be made with the custom/chopper/H-D style bikes
as this ment low development cost. The sports/hyper-sports bikes changes every 2 years completly with an update in between. It is the image that sels and will sell the “lower” powered bikes.

At this moment pople look in to the 7-8 k Euro bikes. 600-1000cc half naked /naked tourer to go to work but still have a “toy” for the weekend. These bikes tend to have the engine o the Hyper-sports from 4 years ago with some mild mapping to give the engine a longer life.
But what will happen if all these Hypersports development will go on hold…
Sure there is Moto-GP but not a lot trikkels down from there.

Other interseting development is the start of e-scooters, e-MX motorcycles( small solo brands but now also KTM) and e-sports bikes (Next years Man-TT has a special class for them)

Exiting times I would say.