Top BMW electric vehicle engineers defect to Chinese rival backed by Tencent

Posted:
in General Discussion
An upstart electric car company backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent has reportedly snared at least four high-ranking executives from BMW i, the German marque's impressive but struggling electric mobility unit.




The Chinese company, Future Mobility Corp., struck first blood last month with the hiring of longtime BMW employee Carsten Breitfeld as its CEO. Breitfeld was responsible for development of the universally-acclaimed i8, according to the Wall Street Journal.

He was joined this month by powertrain engineer Dirk Abendroth, design chief Beonoit Jacob, and product management lead Henrik Wenders.

The departures are a significant blow for BMW, which is having difficulty breaking into the nascent all-electric market. Elon Musk's Tesla Motors is a formidable foe in the strata BMW usually targets, and new competitors are emerging seemingly each day.

It may also be a blow to Apple's own rumored electric car ambitions, as the company is thought to have considered a partnership with BMW i. Earlier this week, it was revealed that the iPhone maker has already spun up a secret Berlin-based development facility for the project.

There is no word on why Tencent was able to convince senior BMW officials to defect, but one source suggests that they may have been frustrated with the Bavarian company's slow progress on new models; no significant upgrades are expected before 2020.

"That's too long for young people who want to change the world," the source told the paper.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,837member
    Uh-huh.  :|
  • Reply 2 of 15
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,141member
    I wonder what kind of NDA's the folks working at BMW sign.
    frankie
  • Reply 3 of 15
    How is a small Chinese upstart company able to snatch 4 top BMW execs? The upstart is actually a joint venture between Tencent and Hon Hai Precision Industry. Hon Hai is another name for Foxconn, which makes... almost every Apple product... Again, how is a small Chinese upstart company able to snatch 4 top BMW execs ... ?
    bickpaxmandacharbdkennedy1002radarthekatjony0
  • Reply 4 of 15
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,783member
    Get ready for the Foxconn Car!
  • Reply 5 of 15
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,594member
    powerbug said:
    How is a small Chinese upstart company able to snatch 4 top BMW execs? The upstart is actually a joint venture between Tencent and Hon Hai Precision Industry. Hon Hai is another name for Foxconn, which makes... almost every Apple product... Again, how is a small Chinese upstart company able to snatch 4 top BMW execs ... ?
    That was my immediate thought. I know little about the behind the scenes mechanics of this deal but the answer to the question seemed obvious. Mainly because the news was posted here, I guess :)
  • Reply 6 of 15
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,524member
    Universally acclaimed?!?  In what universe?
  • Reply 7 of 15
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member
    And the prize for the Most Tenuous Apple Link of the Year goes to…



  • Reply 8 of 15
    palominepalomine Posts: 361member
    Is this company in any way connected to Faraday Future? For that matter, who is really behind Faraday? 

    I have to wonder here, how HonHai, even, could get those BMW folks. Would have to be a lot more than just the Chinese starting a car company. Who is Hon Hai making the car for ?? ?? I have trouble believing they would want to be so distracted as to do car manufacturing on their own.

    I bet bet there is an Apple connection. Maybe to be revealed soon.
  • Reply 9 of 15
    clock07clock07 Posts: 39member
    Naa, it seems ti be a big deal only at first sight. It's quite natural that China wants to get rid of horrible air pollution and therefore is forced to hire top execs in the EV space who will, hopefully, be able to roll out 10k EV for Chinese market only. BYD didn't succeed in doing that, so imminently new entrant will be given the chance. Not of a big deal ..
  • Reply 10 of 15
    JanNLJanNL Posts: 258member
    palomine said:
    I bet bet there is an Apple connection. Maybe to be revealed soon.
    There's a chance, won't be my biggest bet of the week, for an Apple connection.
  • Reply 11 of 15
    If BMW wants to make an impression on the market they shouldn't be trying to do it with a car that looks great but goes for 100k+.
  • Reply 12 of 15
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,278member
    palomine said:
    Is this company in any way connected to Faraday Future? For that matter, who is really behind Faraday? 

    I have to wonder here, how HonHai, even, could get those BMW folks. Would have to be a lot more than just the Chinese starting a car company. Who is Hon Hai making the car for ?? ?? I have trouble believing they would want to be so distracted as to do car manufacturing on their own.

    I bet bet there is an Apple connection. Maybe to be revealed soon.
    I doubt there is any Apple connection. It's Chinese billionaires jumping in on a potential multi-Billion dollar market. IMHO rather than be beholden to Western companies they're now wealthy enough to do it themselves.... thanks to those Western companies. 

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-19/bmw-executives-said-to-join-tencent-backed-electric-car-maker-in731jc5

    As for Apple and their reported plans to work with BMW on building an Apple-branded car, talks are said to have resulted in nothing with both Daimler and BMW rejecting Apple.
    https://global.handelsblatt.com/breaking/exclusive-bmw-daimler-reject-cooperation-with-apple-over-icar
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 13 of 15
    NexNex Posts: 1member
    One thing for sure, after China know every technology from these guy, and you will gets fired from CEO, so I believe almost 2 years in your position good luck
  • Reply 14 of 15
    CMA102DLCMA102DL Posts: 121member
    When you see 4 top people leaving a company it is often because the company is in trouble, or that particular department is in trouble, or there is no wide support for ideas from employees. It could also mean better pay. Isn't the word "defect" a little too strong? It is clear that China and Taiwan mean business.
    edited April 2016
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