BMW has been the No. 1 luxury carmaker in the world for almost a decade, but the challenges brought forth by rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz means that its next chief executive will have to work harder to maintain its competitive edge.
For instance, Harald Krueger – the successor to current CEO Norbert Reithofer – needs to make the BMW i-subbrand to click more, as the initial global sales of the i3 (13,849 units) and the i8 (1,129) have been too low to justify the billions that the carmaker spent to develop and build them.
Likewise, BMW needs to bolster its core products to get the better of rivals that have also strengthened their offerings. While Audi and Mercedes have still to match BMW's investment in electric vehicles, they are moving into new segments and niches.
On the other hand, Mercedes and other luxury marques brands now boast of advanced safety, driving assist and semi-autonomous features – something that BMW currently does not offer. Also, Mercedes has launched a new range of Mercedes-Benz S-class models, aimed at BMW’s aging 7 series.
While BMW will redesign the 7 series next year, Mercedes will soon offer a flagship Maybach and a convertible. Also, BMW have no offerings to match up against the Audi A3 fwd compact sedan, and the Mercedes-Benz CLA sedan and GLA crossover.
These are just some of the challenges that Krueger will have to face when he sits at BMW’s top seat on May 13, 2015.
Krueger is currently the board member for production and used to work at BMW's Spartanburg site in South Carolina, where Reithofer and two other BMW AG CEOs also worked. Reithofer is required to retire from BMW in 2016, when he turns 60. [source: automotive news - sub. required]