BMW Group is constructing a second production hall at a carbon-fiber site it jointly operates with SGL Carbon SE as it tries to cater to growing demand for its i-subbrand models. The carmaker also plans to use carbon fiber on other vehicles in its lineup. "We're preparing the roll out of carbon fiber material in models beyond the i- model range" and the M performance-car unit, remarked BMW spokesman Mathias Schmidt.
Handelsblatt has reported that BMW is planning to use carbon fiber for its planned new 7 series that will be rolled out by the end of 2014. BMW launched the i3 electric in November 2013 and will roll out the i8 plug-in hybrid supercar later this year. BMW has already sold out the i8 for its first year of availability. Both i-models boast of a carbon-fiber chassis to cut weight and enhance fuel efficiency.
BMW chief financial officer Friedrich Eichiner disclosed in October 2013 that the company is mulling a production hike for the i3 as early demand exceeded its expectations. BMW has received 11,000 orders globally for the i3 and expects to sell more than 10,000 units this year. "We're preparing for rising demand," said Tino Fritsch, a spokesman for SGL.
BMW and SGL are investing over EUR100 million ($137 million) to double carbon fiber production to 6,000 tons annually, the German business daily reported, citing people privy with the carmaker. BMW Group holds an 18.4-percent stake in SGL. SGL’s largest individual shareholder is SKion GmbH, which holds a 28-percent.