He admitted the last six weeks of financial turmoil in particular have taken everyone by surprise.
But the first Brit to serve on the BMW Board said he was ‘sure (markets) will turn. The industry will weather the storm. It is, and has long proven to be, very resilient.’
Governments have played their part too, he said. ‘They have responded very constructively.’
Furthermore, speaking of BMW, he revealed he was ‘not as pessimistic… BMW is in pretty good shape. We are weathering the situation well.’
The company is adjusting by altering production schedules and moving cars from markets as per demand. This includes shifting cars from the UK, a market he reveals has been down since the middle of the year.
Cars are, instead, going to good markets such as Asian, China, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
‘We have the largest premium sales volume in the world – supporting our renewed vision of a year ago – to be the leading provider of premium vehicles. This vision is steering the company’
The former Rolls-Royce chief emphasised the word ‘provider’, too. ‘There are other ideas potentially coming through,’ maybe making developments in BMW personal finance, the internet-linked new 7-Series and the brand’s increasingly personalisable iDrive systems even more significant…
Robertson revealed there is significant ‘blue sky thinking’ underway at BMW, too. ‘Project I’ is the company’s future-thinking division, which is analysing all aspects of how cars are made, how factories are built – plus, how they’re sold and how dealers and the company interact with customers.
‘There are some great ideas coming through from this,’ said Robertson.
‘The car still has a role to play – individual mobility will remain the order of the day. What’s more, there will still be a premium sector. People will still want the luxury and performance of large cars.’
The challenge of the future, he added, was making such models environmentally acceptable…
By RICHARD AUCOCK