Buy a BMW SUV, help save the environment... eventually

The more SUVs you buy now, the more money BMW will have to create its future electric vehicles.

BMW

If you want to buy a new house, you're going to need to save up for it. That's what BMW is about to do... sort of.

BMW plans to rely heavily on its profitable SUV segment this year, in order to stash away enough cash to fund its eventual push into the electric vehicle market, Reuters reports.

That money will mostly fund a mass-production system for its forthcoming electric vehicles. BMW estimates that EVs and hybrids will cover up to one quarter of its sales within a decade, and setting up production lines is, well, the opposite of cheap. Ergo, it's time to focus on the moneymakers.

The medicine might taste icky, but you have to drink it so you can feel better.

BMW

What's perhaps more interesting is that BMW says its electric drivetrain will be "integrated into [its] core brands." So, instead of BMW rolling out a whole slew of new nameplates, we're more likely to see fully electric variants of models that already exist. A completely silent 7 Series? Sign me up.

Already, one-third of BMW's production last year was some sort of utility vehicle. The market has embraced crossovers with such vigor, it's reported that BMW will add not one, but two new utes to its lineup next year -- a smaller X2, and finally, a three-row X7.

I call this move The Porsche Gambit, or at least a variant thereof. After years of producing one of the most well-regarded sports cars on the planet, Porsche made a second sports car line, the Boxster. However, sports cars have such a narrow appeal, and economic downturns usually claim these lines before others. Thus, a solution was needed to keep the lights on.

That solution was the Cayenne. Of course it was heretical at the time -- a Porsche, but a utility vehicle?! -- but it proved to be a SUV that deserved the badge, whether or not purists were willing to admit it. It did well enough to keep the brand alive, and now Porsche sells more SUVs and more sports cars in positive financial health.

Now, it's BMW's time to take up The Porsche Gambit. In order to prepare for a future where its presence is not only continuing, but thriving, BMW will do what it must, even if the purists don't like it.

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