Hildegard Wortmann is no stranger to BMWs – she loved them as a child, and purchased her first 3 Series privately instead of taking a company car when working for global giant Unilever, so as Senior Vice President of Brand at BMW – I sat down with her to discuss the electrification of cars and the future of these huge international motor shows.
It’s hard to miss BMWs vision for the future, it has moved into Electric vehicles with the i3 and i8, then there’s the plug-in-hybrid vehicle range plus huge investment in Electric R&D and Battery factories.
What does Hildegard Wortmann see as important for BMW toward 2025?
“BMW has always been seen to be pioneering and an innovation leader”, “we have the attitude that whatever we show as visions or plans, they have to come true at one time.”
This means you won’t see some fancy concept car that won’t ever come to life – the i8 is an example of that, looked amazing as a concept, and it very much came true.
There will be “25 electrified BMW’s by 2025”, “200,000 Electrified BMW’s on the road by the end of 2017.” So it’s hard to argue with BMW’s commitment to the future of motoring.
So what then does such an important executive at one of the world’s best known and oldest car companies think of Elon Musk and Tesla?
“I think it’s amazing what he has reached, I’m quite grateful because what really happened when they entered the market was that electromobility got out of that edge of being a very rational aspect, and really put some emotional side into it.”
Ms Wortmann went on to say “I think that was good for the overall industry, glad to see their development, I think it helps all of us if we have more of these sort of emotional concepts in the market to really foster the new mobility.”
Bringing it back to their own model range, she sees some value in the future of the i8 “I think the i8 can really live up to that expectation.”
With a stand taking up 10,500 square meters of space at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show, there is some suggestion these shows are unsustainable with several notable brands absent from the event.
“I think motor shows have their right in existing, the ambition is to show there is more than just a parking lot of cars, to make the brand available, and to give the overall experience of BMW.”
Hildegard Wortmann went on to say “We want to show the width in the portfolio, from the i range, to the M and the Luxury.”
“I can understand if smaller brands with less of a portfolio have to take other priorities. You have to question the status quo all the time, get away from a routine taking the same thing to every motor show.”
Importantly, Hildegard Wortmann sees value in experimenting with showcasing the brand in other spaces too – recent exhibitions at Coachella, Games Con and Pebble Beach are a break from the norm, but Ms Wortmann is clear “We have to experiment with different platforms.”
The 2017 IAA Frankfurt Motorshow takes place this week, stay tuned for more news and car reveals from the show floor here at EFTM.
Chris Bowen travelled to Frankfurt as a guest of BMW – read all of our commercial interests and disclosures here.