Luxury Cars: Since the release of its official strategy in September of 2007, media sources around the world have been speculating that BMW was looking at either launching its own new brand or acquiring one to help expansion. BMW already has a foothold in the luxury and ultra-luxury segments with its BMW and Rolls-Royce brands, respectively, plus it has the Mini small car brand as well, but reports suggested that the automaker may launch or revive a fourth brand for its upcoming family of Project i cars.
BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer has now made the final word on the topic, putting an end to claims of a new brand and reconfirming earlier statements that no existing brand fits the criteria BMW seeks in a partner at present. At one point it was thought BMW was interested in acquiring Volvo or possibly even the Triumph brand.
Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, Reithofer said the first Project i car will feature an electric drivetrain and will be launched under a "BMW sub-brand" comparable to BMW's M badge, which marks high-performance cars.
Reithofer also revealed that the vehicle will be launched "in the first half of the next decade," but failed to provide any further details. Earlier this week BMW confirmed that it would be partnering with SB LiMotive, a joint-venture between Bosch and Samsung SDI, for the supply of lithium-ion batteries for the new vehicles.
In related news, Reithofer also confirmed that BMW was still in talks with France's PSA Peugeot-Citroen over a possible deal to build new engines together, as well as Daimler on joint purchasing and sharing certain components.
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