The Germans also promised to develop new M and i products

On March 7th, 2016, BMW halted production at nearly all factories, which joined the company’s live official 100th anniversary celebration in the Olympiahalle in Munich. Now, the German brand returned to Olympiahalle for the 96th Annual General Meeting of BMW AG, where chairman Harald Kruger made several announcement about the automaker’s future plans. As is the case with such important events, BMW unveiled plans to further expand its vehicle lineup and confirmed that brand-new vehicles will be launched in the future.

Arguably the most important news is that BMW will introduce a new luxury model. Kruger had no actual details to share, but the most likely candidate is the highly anticipated 9 Series. Essentially a longer 7 Series with a slightly revised exterior design, the 9 Series will be aimed at long-wheelbase versions of the S-Class and slot right below the Rolls-Royce Ghost. Rumored since 2013, the limousine will most likely arrive in late 2018 or early 2019.

Another model confirmed by Kruger is the X7. Also rumored for quite some time, the X7 will become BMW’s largest SUV and will offer seating for up to seven people. Key competitors for the big hauler will include the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator. According to BMW, the X7 will become available in 2018, which means we could see it in concept form sometime in 2017. The vehicle will likely share underpinnings with the upcoming Rolls-Royce SUV, known as project Cullinan.

Kruger also said that BMW aims to expand its M and i programs. Although details are slim, we expect to see a full-fledged M7, as well as high-performance versions of the X1, X3, and X7. As far as the electric/hybrid i family goes, BMW will probably launch a larger version of the i3, dubbed i5.

Alongside the new nameplates, Munich will also debut new technology. Confirmed developments include an enhanced connectivity system, use of artificial intelligence, and autonomous cars.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

Granted, BMW has some mighty big plans to see through by the end of the decade, but these claims are backed by some impressive earnings in 2015, which also means there are plenty of resources to invest in the future. The group earned over 92 billion euro ($104.95 billion) in 2015, a 15-percent increase compared to 2014, and a net profit or around 6.4 billion euro ($7.3 billion), a ten-percent increase. At the end of 2015, BMW’s liquidity totaled more than 11 million euro ($12.55 million), making it the company with the highest credit rating of any automotive manufacturer in Europe. There’s no doubt that the brand’s current success is more than enough to fuel this new expansion. What’s more, the new products will not only enable BMW to enter previously unexplored niches, but also expand its luxury vehicle portfolio and thus take another step toward becoming the leader of the premium market in just about every segment.

BMW 9 Series

2016 BMW 9 Series Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Read our full review on the BMW 9 Series here.

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