As Volkswagen AG's Audi threatens BMW's lead in the luxury segment, the Quandt family, BMW AG's dominant shareholder, has come out to profess its commitment to the company. Stefan Quandt was at an event last Tuesday in Munich to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the shareholders' vote to approve the family’s rescue of BMW.
He said at the event that the family is “looking forward” to shape the future with BMW. Quandt was quoted to have said, “Lead, don't follow - that's the entrepreneurial calling of BMW.” About 50 years ago, investor Herbert Quandt prevented a takeover attempt by Daimler AG (then called Daimler-Benz).
He had financed the development of the 1500-model mid-sized sedan. The family currently owns 46% of BMW, and Stefan Quandt and Susanne Klatten, his two children, are on the supervisory board.
BMW has overtaken Daimler's Mercedes-Benz division as the world's top premium carmaker five years ago. BMW aims to nearly double annual sales to 2 million vehicles by 2020. But Audi is on a roll and has set a goal to skip over BMW and Daimler to achieve the title of the largest maker of luxury cars by 2015.
Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, said that at some point, Volkswagen will have benchmark costs and BMW “has to ask itself whether it can face this challenge on its own.”
He added that BMW will have to determine if it will accept cross shareholdings to enter into long-term strategic partnerships. [via autonews - sub. required]