By Kap Maceda Aguila
ON THE SIDELINES of the recent launch of the all-new versions of BMW’s Z4 and 3 Series, this writer had an exclusive interview with BMW Group Asia Managing Director Christopher Wehner. The executive had mentioned in a speech that the Munich-headquartered car maker was poised to systematically launch a total of 25 electrified vehicles by Year 2025.
Asked by “Velocity” whether these specific models would eventually make their way to the Philippines, Mr. Wehner replied: “I hope that you will see all of these 25 models but, of course, it depends on the customers in the Philippines if they want electrified cars or not. We deliver what the customers want.” The executive revealed that half of the models will be comprised of plug-in hybrids, the other full EVs.
He remained bullish about the local market, saying, “We see a lot of pros for BMW Philippines in the premium market (including) a strong trend towards SAVs (sport activity vehicles, the company’s term for SUVs). Our X model range is perfect for that from X1 to X7. This is why we presently see high demand for the X5 and X7.”
How soon can Filipinos see the first electrified BMW? “July or August,” replied Mr. Wehner. “The first electrified vehicle that we’ll bring here is the 7 Series plug-in hybrid. This is our newest plug-in hybrid, and a good alternative for our customers.”
While expressing hope for escalating electrified vehicle demand in the future, he conceded that this “depends heavily on taxation benefits for the customer, and available infrastructure.”
And even as the company is facing an electrified future, BMW “will still offer all the technologies — pure combustion engines, plug-in hybrids, and fully electric vehicles. We will see all these three technologies over the year 2030,” maintained Mr. Wehner.
Again, there’s no hard stop for the ICE (internal combustion engine) yet. “The customer decides what he or she wants to buy, (and) we will offer that,” he concluded.