100 years of BMW: What else is Bavarian about BMW?

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What is actually still Bavarian about BMW?

This is how the shape of the BMW double kidney developed

The so-called double kidney grille on the front is one of the design elements of every BMW. See how their shape changed over the decades.

Source: BMW

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BMW has been building powerful internal combustion engines for 100 years. Since their days could soon be numbered, the manufacturer is now relying on new types of drive – and on its old location in Munich.

VMaybe this is the final highlight. Led by Bill Auberlen, an American racing driver, two brand new BMW M2, each with 370 hp, accelerate up the hill, except for the hilltop in front of them, the drivers only see the sky. When you reach the top, you turn sharply to the left, whereupon the road drops steeply downwards, followed immediately by a right bend on the downward slope.

It’s called corkscrew in motorsport circles, and this special corkscrew is one of the most famous combinations of corners in the world. Anyone who drives the new M2 here on the racetrack in Laguna Seca, California, can only have one impression: The good, old BMW world of big engines is still okay.

And is not a car that has proven itself on this route, also an expression of a typical Bavarian self-confidence that can now look back on a 100-year tradition in engine construction?

"E-mobility is a marathon, not a sprint"

BMW boss Harald Kruger has again spoken out in favor of buying incentives to promote sales of electric cars. He justifies this demand here in an interview with reporter Jens Reupert.

Source: The World

The company was founded on March 7, 1916, initially building aircraft engines and from which the Bayerische Motorenwerke emerged. Even today, all cars that leave a BMW factory bear the white and blue Propoller logo on the bonnet.

A “Mia-san-mia” attitude is alien to the car manufacturer, in any case, it is hardly ever publicized. Embarrassing care is taken not to use any provincial cliches, even if the group is headquartered in Munich. You won’t find traditional costume groups and veal sausages at BMW events.

The Bavarian origin of the company seems to be expressed in the form of a special set of values ​​that could help the manufacturer to prepare for the next 100 years. Or at least for the next ten.

"Every company needs a DNA in which the origin and the basic ethical values ​​are manifested", says Klaus Schmitz, partner at the Arthur D. Little management consultancy. “You won’t find this DNA anywhere in the world. If you were to separate BMW from Munich, BMW’s roots would be lost. "

AMG has already overtaken M GmbH

The basic values ​​of the company undoubtedly include a special awareness of tradition and quality, which is paired with a pronounced spirit of progress – and a local focus that has become rare in the globalized business world.

These characteristics are more important than ever for the car manufacturer, because the industry is facing the greatest upheaval in its history, and no one can yet say exactly who the winners and who the losers will be.

For BMW, the world market leader among premium manufacturers, for example, it is currently a problem that Mercedes is catching up with giant strides and is even overtaking the Bavarian competition in terms of particularly sporty cars: while BMW M GmbH sold around 50,000 cars worldwide in 2015, the Mercedes subsidiary AMG almost 70,000 new registrations.

The M ennobles the BMW 2 Series

100 years of BMW: What else is Bavarian about BMW?-Munich

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It’s been four years since BMW pressed a 340 hp engine into the 1 Series Coupe, added the chassis from the M3 and pulled a skin-tight sheet metal skin over the muscles. FeThe 1 Series M Coupe was ready. The successor to the two-door single is now trading as a 2-series, and the 56,700 euro power variant can now confidently call itself the M2 Coupe.

Source: Thomas Geiger

100 years of BMW: What else is Bavarian about BMW?-Reithofer

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In the M2, tall people sit very cramped, the back seat is only recommended for small children, and the trunk only swallows 390 liters. In addition, the M2 is itself in comfortmodus plentifully hard and hops cheerfully over transverse joints.

Source: Thomas Geiger

100 years of BMW: What else is Bavarian about BMW?-Munich

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Nevertheless, the sports coupe, which costs at least 56,000 euros, is extremely successful.

Source: Thomas Geiger

100 years of BMW: What else is Bavarian about BMW?-Harald Kruger

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When it comes to the engine, the M2 gets help from the M3, which donated pistons and spark plugs, among other things. So comes the unit that develops almost tame 326 hp in the 235i …

Source: Thomas Geiger

100 years of BMW: What else is Bavarian about BMW?-Munich

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… to 370 horsepower suitable for M and a maximum torque of 465 Newton meters, which can even briefly increase to 500 via overboost.

Source: Thomas Geiger

100 years of BMW: What else is Bavarian about BMW?-Germany

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In the best case, after 4.3 seconds you have 100 items on the clock, when overtaking on the country road you are in a jiffy to 160, 180, and even then the Bavarian bolide still has it a lot of steam that …

Source: Thomas Geiger

100 years of BMW: What else is Bavarian about BMW?-Penzberg

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… the engineers only temporarily pull the rip cord at 250 km / h. If you want and pay extra for it, you can drive away the ordinary compact car at speeds of up to 270 km / h.

Source: Thomas Geiger

Almost 13,000 kilometers east of the Laguna Seca race track, this is also an issue, as the Geneva Motor Show traditionally attracts many buyers of highly motorized vehicles. At the same time, Geneva is an indicator for the overall market, and it is interesting to observe that BMW is holding back this year with new series products and studies on electromobility or autonomous driving.

Harald Kruger, CEO since May 2015, only made one interesting slip of the tongue at his press conference: he calls the i8 model the “best-selling sports car of its time”, which is certainly not only seen differently at Porsche. “Of his kind” would have been the right formulation – because there are hardly any sports cars with plug-in hybrid drives.

Even if you rarely see it on the road, the i8, together with the all-electric compact car i3, forms the backbone of BMW’s second strategic direction. And despite all the secrecy before the big birthday party in the Munich Olympiahalle, it can be assumed that the 2,000 invited guests will see another model of the i-series, at least as a prototype.

30,000 i-models sold – worldwide

"With the introduction of the i-models, BMW has further developed its image without giving up the old values," says Schmitz. However, the sales figures suggest that BMW will need a lot of patience before the two billion euros invested come back in.

In Geneva, Harald Kruger expressed his satisfaction with i-growth of 66 percent last year, but that wasn’t more than 30,000 cars worldwide – newcomer Tesla sells about twice as much, but doesn’t make a profit either.

“Electromobility is not a sprint, but a marathon”, this is the phrase one often hears from BMW boss Kruger in Geneva. He does not go into more detail about the strategy, and the guests at the birthday party will also have to be prepared for cloudy explanations – BMW determined the annual press conference on March 16 to provide an outlook on the first decades of its second century.

100 years of BMW: What else is Bavarian about BMW?-BMW AG

The "BMW Welt" is a combined exhibition, delivery, adventure, museum and event location of BMW AG in Munich. It was built from 2003 to summer 2007. Originallyh it should be opened in 2006 for the soccer World Cup

Source: picture alliance / blickwinkel / M

Three things are to be expected here: BMW is likely to provide answers to the advance of Mercedes in terms of automated driving for production models, and the brand also needs guidelines in the fight against new manufacturers who do not understand the automotive market in an evolutionary way, but live revolution and disruption: Tesla, Apple, Google.

It is also to be expected that further electrification will be at the center of the BMW future. In Geneva, Kruger raised the question of whether it would still be worth investing in internal combustion engines in the future. "The Future Urban Vehicle probably looks more like the i3 or the Smart than the 5 Series or the E-Class," says Schmitz.

The experience with the i-models enabled BMW to equip every single series with plug-in hybrid drives, which should now happen quickly, right down to the 1-series and even the Mini. Because BMW in particular, as a manufacturer of predominantly larger and more powerful cars, otherwise faces difficulties in meeting the specified CO2 targets.

BMW works closely with universities in Munich

On the way to the new era, BMW is also relying on its old location. Although the company has long been operating globally, with factories in Europe, North America and China, the Bavarian capital, Munich, is a key factor.

There the manufacturer experiences a steady influx of skilled workers from the Technical University and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University, there is mutual attraction: the universities are among the best in Germany, and BMW is reliably high in the rankings of the most attractive employers.

The company maintains this position not only with its products, but also with its research and innovation center, or FIZ for short. For this building complex, which has been in existence for 26 years and accommodates more than 25,000 employees, there is a long-term plan that extends until 2050.

100 years of BMW: What else is Bavarian about BMW?-Germany

Norbert Reithofer (photo) was CEO of BMW AG for almost nine years. Since May 2015 he has chaired the BMW supervisory board. His successor as CEO ist Harald Kruger

Source: picture alliance / Sven Simon

The aim is to expand this location for up to 40,000 engineers and scientists, and employees from suppliers should also find space here. The architectural competition is over, and BMW is in talks with the city as well as with local residents about the implementation.

In addition to the FIZ, there is also the “four-cylinder” corporate headquarters in Munich, which is framed by the BMW Museum, a large automobile plant and the BMW World, which is much more than a delivery center for new cars. Although not a whole city was founded for BMW as it was for Volkswagen, it can be said that hardly any other manufacturer is as intertwined with its homeland as BMW.

In the development offices and even more on the production line, you hear the typical dialect just as often as you can identify Mercedes employees on the Schwabeln. But in a globalized world, employees are much more mobile than they used to be.

BMW is Bavarian and multicultural at the same time

Management positions are certainly not assigned according to origin, but rather according to performance. The owner family Quandt comes from Pritzwalk in Brandenburg, CEO Harald Kruger was born in Freiburg, Development Director Klaus Frohlich is Westphalian, Sales Director Ian Robertson is English, Design Director Adrian van Hooydonk is from Holland.

Generally the design. Hardly any young designer under van Hooydonk has the chance to grow old in a single location. Everyone has to prove themselves not only in Germany, but also in the studios in Shanghai and Los Angeles. As with all car manufacturers, a colorful multicultural troop is at work in BMW design, whose office language is not Bavarian but English.

However: The strategy with which BMW got to its current position, it comes from an original Bavarian: Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the supervisory board and Harald Kruger’s predecessor in office, has shown the way towards electromobility and implemented the carbon strategy. Reithofer comes from Penzberg in Upper Bavaria and is considered a person with a sense of home. We do know, however, that the last time he wore lederhosen was as a child.

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