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BMW Gets Rid of Some Stick Shifts to Absorb Electric-Car Costs

  • Electric-car profitability trails conventional cars, BMW says
  • ‘Our biggest lever is to reduce complexity,’ CFO Peter says
A worker prepares to drill a bolt In to a BMWX5 xDrive40e M Sport plug-in hybrid vehicle supported by an overhead crane at the BMW AG assembly plant in Amata, Rayong province, Thailand on Feb. 1, 2017.
Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg
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BMW AG is scrapping stick shifts on some models in the U.S., such as the 2-Series coupe, as the German carmaker streamlines options for customers to stabilize profitability amid higher spending and lower returns from electric cars.

With a wide array of choices, such as more than 100 steering wheels and engine configurations, BMW is looking to cull little-used options after spending on research and development doubled from 2008 to about 5 billion euros ($5.7 billion) last year, Chief Financial Officer Nicolas Peter said Wednesday. The move is part of efforts to offset ramp-up costs for technology such as battery-powered vehicles.