BMW tries to turn a corner—and loses its bos

IN THE GRAND finale of #NEXTgen, an event held last month at BMW’s headquarters in Munich to show off the German carmaker’s vision for the future of mobility, Harald Krüger, its boss, unveiled the Vision DC Roadster. The staid 53-year-old mounted the futuristic, angular motorbike as if he were ready to ride off into the sunset. Shortly afterwards he was on his way. On July 5th Mr Krüger said that he would stand down with less than a year of his five-year term remaining.

Rumours had been rife that BMW’s supervisory board was about to announce that, unlike his predecessor, Norbert Reithofer, Mr Krüger would not get a second term. On his watch the company’s financial performance has sputtered. More troubling, it has lost the technological edge on which the pulling power of premium brands relies. His successor—widely tipped to be Oliver Zipse, BMW’s head of production—will need to soup up both.

For years BMW’s excellent cars and outstanding profits were the envy of carmakers. Its luxury saloons remain desirable and returns have been decent. But despite record sales of around 2.5m vehicles last year, operating profits fell by 8% to €9.1bn ($10.7bn). Operating margins have halved since 2011, to under 6% (see chart). A profit warning in March has weighed on BMW’s share price, which is down by 45% since a peak in 2015...

via Business Feeds

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