BMW CEO: Autonomous Cars Could Mean the Downfall of Traditional Auto Makers

If you’re one of the fans of the blue and white roundel cars, then you know that the current CEO of the company, Dr. Norbert Reithofer will be stepping down at the end of May and his place will be taken by none other than Harald Kruger, the current chief of production.
BMW self driving car 1 photo
The thing is, while this move took people by surprise, it was carefully planned by the Management Board for quite some time and you can see that by the round tables held and the press releases coming out these days, with the Geneva Motor Show in full swing.

At one of those meetings, the current CEO expressed his concern towards the challenges that his successor will have to face. And the most surprising thing for some is that he didn’t talk about the administrative stuff but about how fast the industry is changing and what will have to be done to keep up.

The most important aspect manufacturers (not only BMW) have to keep in their minds is that their statute is being challenged right now. There are new car makers coming out every year, some more successful, others less impressive but any of them has the chance to start a revolution.

Just look at Tesla and you’ll understand what Dr. Reithofer is talking about. The company founded by Elon Musk might be small now but it has the potential to change the face of the entire game.

Already we’re seeing companies not only working with Musk’s creation but they are also changing their line-up to offer similar technologies. The i3 and i8 are included here but they are not the only ones.

Autonomous cars are just one example of challenging grounds

As you very well know, the latest hype in the business is to create cars that drive themselves. For some reason that’s regarded as the future and we already have the tech for it. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi are either working or offering such technology already.

The thing is, in this context, the know-how companies used to have and that gave them an advantage in the field is getting slimmer every day. Couple that with the possibility of taking out internal combustion engines altogether and there’s a big issue at hand to deal with.

Just think that Google is really close to building a completely autonomous car and they wouldn’t need a traditional auto maker at all. They could use electric motors and their advanced software and leave the old fashion companies in the dust.

That could, in turn be a pattern for other giants, like Apple or even Tesla that could grow a lot more than what it is today. A great comparison was delivered by Dr. Reithofer that explains it clearly:

"The typewriter was replaced by the personal computer and many people underestimated that. For me the auto industry is not shielded from new entrants who have know-how in software and networked cars," Reithofer said.

Do you see any Underwood or Remington branded PCs around? That’s exactly what Mr. Kruger will have to deal with and, honestly, I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes.
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