As the Bavarian marque begins redistributing internal resources for an electric future, familiar engines might be first on the chopping block.
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BMW has released its 2019 industry figures, shedding light on the progress of an electric initiative that now includes axing up to 50 per cent of its “traditional” drivetrains from 2021 onwards.

In preparations to offer 25 electrified models by 2023 – an initiative the report reaffirmed the brand’s commitment to – BMW’s spend on research development in 2019 totalled €5.95 billion (AU$10.74 billion), up 11.9 per cent over 2018.

Capital expenditure was also up in 2019, totalling €5.65 billion (AU$10.2 billion) – a 12.3 per cent increase over 2018 figures.

To offset this “high upfront expenditure on future-oriented technologies”, BMW will look to cut costs elsewhere, most notably through streamlining its drivetrain portfolio as part of the marque’s ‘Performance > Next’ – a program established in 2017 to increase efficiency across the business’ processes.

“Up to 50 per cent of traditional drivetrain variants will be eliminated from 2021 onwards in the transition to creating enhanced, intelligent vehicle architectures – in favour of additional electrified drivetrains,” the report stated.

Above: BMW i4 concept

Further to removing drivetrain offerings – which will most likely extend to internal combustion engines more than electrified systems – the marque will also cut model development times by up to a third.

"By optimising our core business, we are systematically ensuring greater financial strength and performance,” BMW spokesperson Nicolas Peter said. “We are growing in the right segments, and therefore generating the funds needed to ramp up our sustainable mobility strategy.”

Through its Performance > Next program, BMW hopes to save a cumulative €12 billion (AU$21.61 billion) by the end of 2022.

The report comes also after a strong 2019 for BMW-owned brands Mini and Rolls Royce – Rolls Royce posting its highest sales figures in its 116 year history.

BMW hopes to offer five all-electric models by the end of 2021, including the i3, ix3, iNext, i4 and the electrified Cooper SE under its Mini brand.