BMW to trim equipment offerings to pay for R&D

Among the cuts will be the 2 Series\' manual transmission.

BMW has announced plans to pare down its equipment offerings in an effort to boost funds for the company's research and development operations.

BMW's R&D efforts are currently running at about 5.5 percent of the company's total revenue, but the automaker expects that figure to inch up closer to 6 percent over the next three year as it ramps up development of electric and autonomous vehicle technology. In order to pay for that increased spending, the company will eliminate some available equipment to reduce production complexities.

"We have over 100 steering wheels on offer. Do we need that many variants?” BMW finance chief Nicolas Peter mused to Reuters.

More than just steering wheels, BMW will significantly reduce the number of engines offered in its vehicles, particularly in Europe. "In the 5 Series we have four diesel engines on offer. I would not bet on there being four diesel engines on offer in the next generation vehicle," Peter said.

Buyers in the United States will also feel the squeeze. Peter says that the company will soon drop the manual transmission option from its 2 Series coupe, which is regarded as one of the automaker's sportier models. The manual transmission could soon become an endangered species at BMW as the company has already confirmed that it will drop the option from its next-generation M5.

Read more!