What fuels BMW’s success?
By Kim Tae-jong
BMW seems to have every reason to be confident of maintaining its lead in the market and there are lessons that other automakers, especially local ones, can learn from the success of the Munich-based automaker.
Last week, BMW Group said its global sales will surpass 2 million vehicles including its Mini and Rolls-Royce brands in 2016, reaching a target four years earlier than planned while celebrating record high sales last year.
“We are targeting new record highs in vehicle sales and pre-tax earnings for 2012,” Chief Executive Norbert Reithofer said during the group’s annual news conference in Munich, Germany. “2012 will be a decisive year for the further internationalization of the BMW Group.”
The German automaker sold about 1.67 million vehicles for the first time and stayed in the No. 1 spot among imported brands in many countries including Korea, where it sold some 27,000 cars.
To accelerate growth, BMW has been developing new technologies and expanding its reach further into emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India, Korea and Turkey, which the automaker collectively calls “BRIKT.”
As if trying to show their plan was not just an empty promise, they invited international reporters to give them the chance to visit one of the plants and drive new cars as part of an official tour program after the conference.
One of the most interesting parts of the factory visit was seeing the whole process of making car roofs and other parts with carbon fiber, which is much lighter and stronger, resulting in reduced fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon fiber also enhances safety.
They said they will use the new material in the next generation BMW series and electric cars.
They seem to believe the key to success now depends on whether automakers can meet the needs of environmentally-conscious drivers by introducing cars with high fuel efficiency and lower carbon dioxide emissions.
But at the same time the German automaker is not giving up its luxury image by enhancing performance and driving dynamics, which was well illustrated during the test drive.
It impressed most reporters, convincing them that such efforts and strategy have earned the automaker its current success.