In the era of new energy vehicles, the situation of BBAs seems to be getting more and more difficult.
Once upon a time, there was such a discussion in the automobile market: In the new energy era, who does the future belong to?
Some people say it is Tesla, which is engaged in “software-defined cars”, others say it is an independent car company that is accelerating its transformation, and some people say it is a new car-making force that has suddenly emerged… When it comes to “BBA”, which is on the front line of traditional luxury, people Often scoffed at.
You should know that in the early days, BBA did not pay much attention to electrification, and mostly adopted the “oil-to-electricity” platform. Sales were slow to pick up, so for a long time, they were nicknamed “no-brand trams” by netizens. Almost every new car launched by the new forces is eager to compare it with BBA in the same price range to show its strength.
But just this year, this situation seems to have changed. According to the sales volume released by BMW, in the first half of 2023, BMW’s pure electric vehicle sales reached 44,900 units, a year-on-year increase of 283%, not only surpassing its old rivals Mercedes-Benz and Audi, but also surpassing Xiaopeng, Jikrypton and other car companies in one fell swoop .
There are various signs that BMW is about to tear off the “no-name electric car” label.
However, things are not that simple. After conducting terminal visits and in-depth analysis, we found that BMW’s sudden rise in pure electric sales is more like a carnival before the collapse of the building.
Price-for-volume i3 and iX3
BMW’s sales of pure electric vehicles are on the rise, mainly due to the strong sales of the i3 and iX3 models.
According to the official website, the official guide price of the BMW i3 starts at 353,900 yuan, while the official guide price of the BMW iX3 starts at 405,000 yuan. However, in the end market, the prices of these two cars are very different from the guide prices.
You know, since the beginning of 2023, the price war has been in full swing, and even BMW, which is on the front line of luxury, cannot avoid it. At the beginning of the price war, BMW terminal stores gave the BMW i3 a preferential policy of nearly 100,000 yuan, and the price after the discount was only about 250,000 yuan.
According to a BMW sales consultant: “The BMW i3 2022 eDrive 35L is the best-selling model, and it is cheaper than the online quotation, which can reach 245,000 yuan.” According to the sales statement, plus 11,000 yuan of insurance, the entire vehicle The price is even less than 260,000 yuan.
In the automobile market, the purchase price is often an important factor for many people to buy a car. When the price of Citroen C6 was reduced before, it triggered a buying frenzy. It was called “the 200,000 Citroen C6 is old-fashioned, and the 120,000 Citroen C6 is calm and majestic”. And when it comes to BMW, it has become “a BMW i3 priced at 350,000 yuan is boring, and a BMW i3 priced at 250,000 yuan is boring”.
As for the BMW iX3, another main sales force, the terminal also offers a huge discount, and the reference price on a certain car website is as low as 299,000 yuan.
In fact, in addition to BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz have also given substantial discounts to their pure electric vehicles at the terminal.
For example, Audi Q4 e-tron has always insisted on not cutting prices before. However, in the face of sluggish sales, it finally gave a discount of nearly 60,000 yuan at the terminal. The terminal discount for the Mercedes-Benz EQC is more than 200,000 yuan. However, because there are currently only 22 models of this car, and its reputation was average when it was first launched, sales have still been slow to pick up.
Although the sales of BMW’s i3 and iX3 models have increased significantly, other new energy products such as the 5 Series New Energy still have little momentum due to low terminal discounts.
It can be seen that in the face of sluggish sales, BMW has fallen into electrification anxiety and embarked on a path of exchanging price for volume.
Where does electrification anxiety come from?
Behind the exchange of price for volume, BMW’s electrification anxiety is highlighted. BMW is in this predicament mainly because it does not pay attention to the “second curve”.
Jan Morrison, president of the American Institute for the Future, once proposed a “second curve” theory, that is, the first curve is the corporate life cycle that companies go through when they carry out traditional business in a familiar environment, while the second curve is the company’s A new enterprise life cycle will be developed in the face of future new technologies, new consumer groups, and new markets.
New Oriental, which had previously flourished in the education and training industry, suffered heavy losses due to a “double reduction” document. However, recently, it has once again become the darling of capital through the “Oriental Selection” live broadcast. Obviously, New Oriental is the darling of the live broadcast. the second curve.
In the automotive field, fuel vehicles were once BYD’s first curve. However, many years ago, BYD made plans in the field of “second curve” new energy vehicles. Eventually, it followed the trend of the times and completely stopped production of fuel vehicles, turning the “second curve” into “Curve” new energy vehicle business is booming. And it has also developed third and fourth curves such as BYD Semiconductor and Fudi Battery.
In fact, the same is true for BMW. The fuel vehicle market is BMW’s first curve, and the electric vehicle market is BMW’s second curve. However, due to the exceptional success of the fuel vehicle market and the cost of research and development of electric vehicles, BMW did not pay attention to the arrival of electrification.
You know, in the era of electric vehicles, the automotive industry has undergone earth-shaking changes.
The first is technology. You must know that platform technology has always been regarded as the “foundation” of electric vehicles. However, because BMW does not pay attention to electrification, its models still use the “oil-to-electricity” platform. In terms of intelligence, another focus of the industry, BMW is even more at a disadvantage.
Second is performance. You must know that BMW relies on performance and sports to become a luxury brand, and in the field of electric vehicles, the zero-hundred-speed acceleration and other performances of electric drives inherently have a dimensionality-reducing impact on fuel vehicles. The zero-hundred acceleration that fuel vehicle manufacturers are proud of , it is no more than the second or third-rate level of new energy vehicles. In this case, BMW’s advantage was once again weakened.
The last thing is positioning. In the era of fuel vehicles, there were strict grades for cars, from high-end to luxury, and then from luxury to ultra-luxury… But in the era of new energy vehicles, this attribute has been greatly weakened. Let’s look at the prices of BMW’s new energy vehicles. The starting prices are often more than 400,000 yuan or more than 500,000 yuan, which is far higher than the new forces. Everyone is starting from scratch, but you have unparalleled technology? Or does it have industry-leading intelligent functions? Or does it have unparalleled performance? Why do you set yourself up so high right from the start?
The lack of attention to the electrification era has led to lagging behind in platforms and intelligent technology. Coupled with the new industry structure, the weakening of luxury car attributes and its ultra-high pricing have contrasted, causing BMW to deviate from the “second place” in electric vehicles. The curve” is getting farther and farther.
Ultimately, when the wave of electrification and intelligence sweeps across, BYD and other car companies that have long regarded new energy vehicles as the “second curve” have already accelerated their transformation and entered a new industry life cycle. BMW, on the other hand, fell into endless anxiety amid wave after wave of shocks. In the end, it could only cling to the traditional fuel vehicle business like driftwood, helpless and confused.
This is BMW’s pain, and it’s also the pain of many traditional fuel brands.
The bullet from the BMW hit myself
In fact, BMW has also been exploring the field of electrification.
As early as the 1970s, BMW launched an electric car called the 1602e. It is understood that the car uses 12 12V lead-acid batteries, with a battery capacity of 12.6kWh, a power of 32kW, and a driving range of up to 60 kilometers. Although there is a big gap compared with today’s electric vehicles, in that era, it was It’s already valuable.
Unfortunately, only one of this car was built and was used for display at the Munich Olympics that year.
In the 1980s and 1990s, BMW successively launched the BMW 325iX electric car, BMW E1 and other models. However, there was no market for new energy vehicles at that time, and BMW only regarded them as “testing the waters.”
It can be seen that although BMW is a “pioneer” in the field of new energy, most of them are concept cars and test vehicles. BMW’s real entry into the new energy market can be traced back to 2011.
In 2011, BMW released the “i” series and released the first-generation BMW i3, which is indeed a pure electric model and uses the BMW LifeDrive platform.
However, the market response to this model was not optimistic due to insufficient product capabilities and other reasons. It is understood that when it was first launched, its range was only 150 kilometers, which was far from the Tesla Model 3, which was popular in the market at the time. Finally, after the first-generation BMW i3 was officially discontinued, BMW’s LifeDrive platform became a thing of the past.
BMW, which failed in this exploration, did not insist on exploring the “second curve” new energy vehicles. Instead, it launched the CLAR platform, which is also known as the “oil-to-electricity” platform as we know it, and launched a series of subsequent models. This move was criticized wildly by the industry, and was labeled as “backward”, “copycat” and “no-name electric vehicles”. Sales of electric vehicles have since fallen into a slump.
There is a saying circulating on the Internet, “A man picked up a real gun in the summer when he was thirteen or fourteen years old. Because he was not afraid of anything, he pulled the trigger. No one died or was injured. He thought he fired the gun. Gun, then he was thirty or older, and he was walking on the road when he heard a faint sound of wind behind him. He stopped and turned around, and the bullet hit him between the eyebrows.”
For BMW, the lack of attention to electrification, the abandonment of the research and development of pure electric platforms, and the adoption of a series of measures to “replace oil with electricity” are like a bullet fired many years ago, which has reduced the sales of BMW’s pure electric vehicles. Hit the bottom. Although BMW achieved a breakthrough in the first half of this year by exchanging price for volume, it is obviously not long-term.
BMW has previously stated that it will not launch the pure electric platform “Neue Klasse” until 2025, and that in 2023, nearly half of its products will continue to use fuel vehicles.
Obviously, BMW has not fully electrified its vehicles, but is still obsessed with the “first curve” fuel vehicle business.
It can be seen that when the era of electrification and intelligence comes, this decision will seem to be like a bullet traveling through time and space, having a major impact on BMW’s current development.