Report: BMW guarding its go-it-alone strategy with electric cars

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 27, 2010

To protect itself against the car industry's preference for consolidation, BMW is speeding up its transition to battery-powered vehicles and has been developing lightweight carbon parts and cutting spending.

BMW is taking on this strategy to move away from the trend that other carmakers have embraced. For instance, Porsche SE is forming an alliance with Volkswagen AG; while Daimler AG, Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. will be entering a share swap to have closer ties. 

Last year, Fiat SpA purchased a stake in Chrysler Group. Investors appear to have a liking for CEO Norbert Reithofer's position on the matter, as the shares have gained 58% in the last year.

The Quandt family, the dominant shareholders, is clearly on his side. What Reithofer considers as a challenge is to keep the momentum going as competitors grow and use up more money on research and development.

Stephen Pope, chief global equity strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald in London, said that BMW is "extremely good at what they do" but the company's size could be what would hold it back.

While he thinks that the company would suffer without a partner, Pope still recommends buying the shares. The Quandt family, which owns 46% of the carmaker, has been adamant on keeping BMW independent.

In 1959, Herbert Quandt, who inherited a 30% stake in BMW from his father, insisted on preventing a takeover offer from Daimler. Stefan Quandt and Susanne Klatten, two of Herbert's children, are members of BMW's supervisory board. 

Topics: bmw, electric car

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