Sunday, December 6, 2009

BMW in 2010

A couple of articles in the media this week taught me something about how BMW views the world.

The Globe And Mail points out that once Porsche and Volkswagen reverse-acquire each other, BMW is going to be the only independent luxury marque of any practical size. This has huge implications for how the automaker designs cars, since the manufacturer doesn't have any econo-box volume sales to cover design mistakes with luxury cars. Their models have to be successful.

This also has implications for how the manufacturer goes racing. BMW has to ensure that they get the maximum amount of publicity, technology, and exposure from their participation in racing -- and to a large extent, that means being successful in the racing venues that they choose to participate in. F1Fanatic reports on BMW's choice of WTCC and GT racing for 2010 now that they have exited Formula 1. The GT racing is especially interesting because it puts the manufacturer, and the cars that they have for sale, directly in view of more Americans.

When viewed like this, BMW's retreat from F1 makes more sense. Since they are not a gigantic conglomerate, they cannot afford to spend huge amounts of money for little practical or measurable gain. And F1 has lost prominence over the last year.

Perhaps the only real surprise is how quickly BMW made their decision.