Production of the all-new BMW 7 and all-electric i7 luxury sedans has officially begun in the Bavarian town of Dingolfing – which is a lot more fun to say than you might think it is.
“Our new BMW 7 Series is the first luxury sedan in the world to offer customers a choice between three types of drive,” said Milan Nedeljković, BMW AG Board Member for Production. “Whether fully electric, combustion-powered or, soon, plug-in hybrid, we have the flexible production structures and outstanding integration skills we need to manufacture such a diverse range of drives efficiently.”
BMW says they’ve invested more than €300 million to ready the Dingolfing plant for production of the new 7, and continues to take steps to transition its largest European plant into a BMW iFACTORY by practicing a “Lean. Green. Digital.” approach to operations.
To that end, BMW is, for the first time, piloting expanded automated driving within the factory, with the just-made BMW 7 Series vehicles getting from A to B as needed – and optimizing assembly and outbound logistics processes as a result. It also helps to speed up the transition from manufacturing ICE 7s to the fully-electric i7s. “We are 100 percent flexible and able to switch between drive variants for the BMW 7 Series,” explained Christoph Schröder, Plant Director. “This means we can manufacture completely in line with demand for the various drives and use our plant capacity as fully as possible.”
In This, Luxurious Corner
Depending on who you ask, the BMW i7 (along with the Mercedes-Benz EQS) represents one of the first real efforts from the established premium car brands to take on the top-shelf Tesla Model S variants. BMW is coming to the table with “a spectacularly outfitted vehicle that covers all the bases in meticulous detail,” as Tina Casey put it at the car’s debut. “From cashmere and leather seats to Swarovski crystal accents, personalized sound and light displays, and everything in between.”
Given that Tesla’s Berlin plant is being shut down for two weeks to address production concerns (read: “quality issues”) shortly after reporting its first q-over-q drop in deliveries in over two years, it seems to me like the threat to Tesla’s continued electric dominance might be very real, indeed.
That’s just my take, though. What’s yours? Is BMW coming too late to the party, or will their decades of production and manufacturing know-how and deep supplier base enable them to gobble up the gap and come out swinging? Scroll on down to the comments and let us know.
Source | Images: BMW.
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