Since the release of its official strategy back in September, media sources around the world have been speculating that BMW was looking at either launching its own new brand or acquiring one to help expansion. BMW officials, however, have adamantly denied rumors of a possible fourth brand within the group but this may all be about to change. Tough new emissions standards planned for both the U.S. and Europe will force BMW to increase the number of eco-friendly cars it produces, but the image associated with such ‘green’ vehicles doesn’t correspond with any of its existing brands, BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce.

One solution, BMW sales and marketing exec Stefan Krause told Automotive News, is the creation of a new green brand. BMW would then be able to sell more FWD cars and crossovers as well as full hybrids and fuel-cell models without impacting on its tradition of building sporty cars.

"We cannot take the blue out of BMW and change it to green," said Krause. "Maybe we could add a fourth brand."

Other options include transforming Mini into the new green brand, buying another brand such as Saab or Volvo, or reviving an old British brand such as Riley or Triumph. Unfortunately, none of these options were deemed appropriate and all have been rejected, Krause revealed.

There is some hope for the new brand. Current BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer is regarded as the ‘greenie’ of the carmaker’s six-member management board and he did previously hint at the possibility of a fourth brand during the September official strategy review.