BMW Group Press Conference North American International Auto Show 2012

 Mr. Ludwig Willisch

Welcome to the BMW Group here in Detroit!  For us, a focus on sustainability is part of premium mobility.  A perfect example of our long-term approach is this car right here: the BMW i8 Concept.  It highlights the BMW Group’s commitment to progressive design, performance, and sustainability.

Our long-term approach also includes a real commitment to our markets.  And the relationship between the US and the BMW Group is a very special one:

  • 37 years ago we firmly established our presence in North America with our headquarters in New Jersey;
  • We’ve invested $5 billion dollars in our South Carolina plant over the last decade alone; and
  • We recently started producing carbon fiber for the i3 and i8 in Washington State.

To be sure, the BMW Group remains as committed to America today as ever before.

One of the reasons we are able to create such revolutionary vehicles like the i8 is the close connection we have with our heritage of innovation.  And for decades, bringing more and more innovative 3 Series vehicles to the US has been a labor of love.

A wide-range of vehicles has underpinned our success here in the US.  However, the BMW 3 Series Sedan has defined the BMW brand in this country more than any other.

Over the last 37 years, the BMW 3 Series has continued to set the benchmark as the ultimate sport sedan.  It is a true sales success in America.  In fact, since the first 3 Series arrived here in 1976, more than half of all BMWs sold in the US have been a 3 Series.

The BMW Group Board Member responsible for Sales and Marketing, Ian Robertson, will tell you more about this legendary car.

Dr. Ian Robertson (HonDSc)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.  I’m glad to be back in the US… especially with so much good news to share with you all!

2011 was an historic year for the BMW Group.  And playing a significant role in our worldwide success is, of course, this vehicle… the BMW 3 Series.

One out of every three BMWs sold throughout the world is a 3 Series. And our biggest market for the 3 Series is right here in the USA.

In its sixth generation, the new 3 Series again offers customers the heart of the BMW brand:

  • Athletic design;
  • Powerful and efficient engines; and
  • The ability to individualize each and every car.

Take this one for example: it is currently the sportiest version of the new 3 Series, equipped with the new M Sport Package.

But this is only one example of how the new 3 Series can be customized.  Of course, as with every BMW, customers can configure their new BMW 3 Series with as many options as they desire.  And for those customers with a design concept already in mind, we’re offering three different Lines.

  • The Sport line aims to strengthen the car’s already sporty nature;
  • The Luxury line offers a touch of additional refinement; and
  • The Modern line creates a harmonious interior space through natural materials.

Whilst these options are new, they are right in line with our long-term approach.

We have always been driven to provide our customers with more options for individuality, more innovation, and more performance. These elements are the spirit of the Ultimate Driving Machine and they are in every one of our vehicles.  This has drawn more customers into our brands than ever before and led us to another record year.

I’m pleased to announce that 2011 was the most successful year ever for the BMW Group!  We delivered over 1.66 million vehicles to customers worldwide last year.

How did we accomplish this?  Of course, by delighting our customers across our three brands: BMW, MINI, and Rolls-Royce.

The BMW brand had a remarkable year, selling more than 1.38 million vehicles in 2011 — a 13% increase over the year before.  MINI also continued its stellar growth, chalking up an increase of 22% with 285,000 MINIs sold last year.  And the pinnacle of luxury motoring, Rolls-Royce, achieved the best sales result in its 107 year history.  Rolls-Royce delivered over 3,500 motorcars to customers around the world.  This performance led to all three brands achieving new global sales records.

Here in the US, 2011 was an outstanding year for the BMW Group.  In fact, America is once again our largest single market.   We sold 305,000 vehicles here, a jump of 15%.  Of that, more than 247,000 BMWs were sold here, making BMW the top premium brand in the US car market.

Looking forward, we plan to capitalize on the potential 2012 holds.  The BMW brand has its youngest ever product portfolio.  Add to this our sales momentum and we start 2012 with a solid foundation for further balanced growth around the globe.  This strengthens our position to continue earning the title of number one premium car company in the world.

We intend to expand our lead by focusing on both current and future solutions.  In the years to come, we will continue to develop even more efficient and dynamic internal combustion engines.  At the same time, we’re also focused on creating revolutionary technologies for future mobility.

To tell you more about our approach, please welcome my colleague, the head of Development at BMW, Klaus Draeger.


Dr. Klaus Draeger

Ladies and Gentlemen – a very warm welcome from my side.

The newest generation BMW 3 Series Sedan is all set to write the next chapter of this car’s long success story.  And this car behind me marks yet another milestone for the 3 Series.

The new BMW ActiveHybrid 3 is the first full hybrid compact sports sedan in the premium segment.  This car is the latest in BMW EfficientDynamics technology.

This hybrid combines a six-cylinder petrol engine and an electric drive.  The outcome: 3 Series driving pleasure with fewer emissions, less consumption, and even more performance.

It comes with 335 horsepower and 450 Newton meters of maximum torque as standard.

And with 37 miles per US gallon, you can experience that performance for a lot longer on the road with fewer visits to the gas station.

On top of the outstanding efficiency of the ActiveHybrid 3 is the Intelligent Navigation System.  This system calculates your route, allowing you to drive the last kilometer of your journey using only electric power.

This car is not an ordinary hybrid.  The approach we took in developing this vehicle extends beyond optimizing efficiency and performance.  We’ve also optimized the car’s architecture.

As just one example, storage was designed with a space-saving layout.  The trunk offers 390 liters of cargo space. This makes a real difference, allowing customers full functionality in a hybrid.  The ActiveHybrid 3 will be available starting this fall.

This car is the second hybrid-drive model in a BMW high-volume model series.  The ActiveHybrid 3 complements the BMW ActiveHybrid 5, which is making its North American debut right here in Detroit.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we consider these hybrid vehicles milestones in a time of change toward zero-emission driving.

So our approach consists of focusing on two areas: evolution and revolution.

This means:

  • We will continue optimizing the combustion engine; while
  • Paving the way toward e-mobility.

Regarding evolution: our Efficient Dynamics technologies have reduced fuel consumption and carbon emissions across all our models since 2007.

We are also in the midst of a revolution: today we are presenting our concept cars — the BMW i3 and BMW i8 — here in Detroit. These two vehicles represent a breakthrough in future mobility.

Both models were developed as fully electric or plug-in hybrid cars. They are “Born Electric.”

Over there you can see the BMW i3 Concept.  It will be the first purpose-designed electric car using carbon fiber in series production. This is truly a revolution in automotive engineering.

The e-drive of the BMW i3 Concept and its power electronics are 100% in-house developments.

And next to the i3 is the BMW i8 Concept.  You may have seen it recently in the cinema in the film Mission: Impossible 4.  Not only is the car visually stunning, but it is also technically impressive.  Using a plug-in hybrid drive, the BMW i8 combines sports car performance with the fuel consumption of a compact vehicle.

Pure, emotional, and sustainable… this Concept will bring the next generation of high performance cars to the road.


Dr. Ian Robertson (HonDSc)

Absolutely, Klaus.  But even today, BMW is known for bringing high performance to American roads.  However, some people may not know that the BMW Group also brings higher performance to American athletes as well.

Dr. Klaus Draeger

We’re particularly proud of the BMW Group’s commitment to the US Olympic Team.  And we’re absolutely thrilled to welcome three Olympic Gold medallists to tell us more about it.

Dialogue with US Olympians: Janet Evans, Apolo Ohno, and Bryan Clay.

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