Reports indicate that BMW could be shutting down its famous M division in order to focus its attention on the i brand of electric vehicles and hybrids.
BMW has its core range of luxury automobiles, and it has two satellite subsidiaries, Rolls-Royce and Mini. But in between those two levels, the Bavarian industrial giant's corporate structure also has two sub-brands: M and i. The M division, as we know, turns "ordinary" Bimmers into exciting performance-oriented models like the M3, M5 and X6 M. The i brand, however, is a newer development, focusing on BMW's new range of electric vehicles to include the i3 hatchback and i8 sportscar.
Sources inside the German automaker are now indicating that BMW could be looking to streamline the two divisions into one, with the M division re-tasked to focus on EVs and hybrids. Industry insiders cite a number of reasons for the development. For one, constricting emissions and fuel-consumption regulations have pressured BMW to lower the average carbon footprint of its vehicles. While the new i3 will help BMW meet these requirements, models like the M3 have the opposite effect. Meanwhile BMW's most talented engineers have made their way over to the M division, and BMW needs them to make its new i8 hybrid supercar a success.
While some are indicating that the M division could be shut down entirely, others are suggesting that the two departments would more easily be merged, creating one unit focused on increasing the excitement factor of its products while also decreasing their carbon emissions and fuel consumption. Either way, one thing is clear: the days of high-output M cars are numbered. Whether that means that current M models will be discontinued or simply not replaced when their product life-cycles are complete will largely depend on how successful the engineers are at tweaking the new generation of electric BMWs.