The following is the transcript of yesterday ‘s speech at the LA Auto Show by Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of BMW AG, Sales and Marketing.
Official Release: As always, it’s great to be here. Los Angeles Auto Show plays a significant role in our presentation of future mobility concepts. Last year we presented the world premiere of the MINI E here. And this year we are proud to present a total of six North American show premieres in Los Angeles – including three concept cars. Of course California plays a very special role in our business in the US: it is our strongest market in the US for all three of our brands – BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce. With our Technology Office in Palo Alto, BMW Group Designworks USA and our Engineering and Emission Test Center in Oxnard, we already have facilities here well beyond sales. In California we also cooperate with the academic bodies of Stanford and UC Davis to involve students in America on projects focusing on vehicle efficiency, sustainability and safety. First I’d like to give you a brief overview of where the BMW Group stands at the moment.
After a challenging year, we are in a good position because we reacted very early and implemented the necessary measures in good time. We decreased production in good time, reduced our inventories, and focused our efforts on liquidity and prudent management of our finances. Since April we have continuously been making ground with our sales. After slight growth in September and October, we expect a clear increase of retail in November.
Against the backdrop of the financial and economic crisis on the one hand, but also the continuous sales recovery since April on the other, the BMW Group expects a relatively moderate sales decline in a range of 10 to 15% for the whole year of 2009. We expect to see further solid growth for the Group in December and we are well underway to once again being the world’s leading premium manufacturer in 2009. Moreover, we intend to have a better overall performance in 2009 than the premium segment. BMW and MINI will both expand their market share in the premium segment in 2009. We have good reason to be more confident about the coming years: between 2010 and 2012 we will replace about 60% of our current volume with all new vehicles.
At the end of this week we will begin with sales in the US of the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, which you can see here on the stand. And just last week we presented the new BMW 5 Series, which will come to the US in the late second quarter next year. I’m sure that US customers are really going to enjoy this car! A couple of other highlights for the US will be the introduction of the Rolls-Royce Ghost in 2010; and the X1 and a MINI Crossover at a later stage. As you can see, we’re going to bring some really exciting products onto the market for you in the next couple of years. The US accounts for over 20% of the company’s sales. We are strongly committed to this market and to the future of the auto industry in the US. That’s why we are investing one billion dollars in the growth and expansion of our business in the US.
We are also committed to doing our part in achieving a sustainable future for the US. We welcome President Obama’s recent announcement to further reduce carbon emissions in the US and we will do all we can to contribute to the attainment of these goals. There is no doubt that mobility is changing. The crucial fact is that individual mobility will remain an important part of our lives. It represents freedom and individuality. However, mobility of the future must be able to meet both ecological and individual needs. For us at the BMW Group, premium also means sustainable – and this applies to the whole value chain – the whole life cycle of the vehicle. This includes our manufacturing plants. For example our Spartanburg plant in the US utilizes methane gas from a nearby landfill for 60% of its energy. We recognized the need to address climate change very early on and now we lead in sustainable mobility. Here are three examples:
1. The BMW Group has delivered more fleet CO2 reductions than any other auto manufacturer selling in the US or Europe.
2. For the fifth consecutive year, we have been ranked the most sustainable company in the automotive sector, by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index
3. And we have the largest fleet of electric powered cars involved in a global pilot project, with the MINI E.
Our leadership in sustainable mobility is the main reason why we were recently chosen to be the official Automotive Partner of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.
These will be the first “sustainable” Games and we will do our part in realizing that vision.
An important element in all of this is our Efficient Dynamics program – the consistent reduction of consumption and emissions in our whole fleet – whilst preserving the Ultimate Driving Machine performance our owners have come to expect. The strategy of Efficient Dynamics can be divided into three steps. In the short and medium term, the fuel consumption of vehicles will be reduced by new, highly efficient engine generations, active aerodynamics, the use of innovative lightweight materials and intelligent energy management within the vehicle:
Clean Diesel technology plays a role in Efficient Dynamics: Compared to a gasoline engine, Clean Diesel typically requires 30% less fuel and produces 20% less CO2. We’re investigating more BMW AdvancedDiesel models for the US market in the future in addition to our 335d and X5 3.5d. Diesel now accounts for 12% of X5 sales in the US. And last month in November, it actually accounted for 25% of X5 sales.
In the medium term, the BMW Group is also working on achieving additional consumption benefits through various measures such as increasing the electrification of the drive train and hybridisation. The two vehicles you see here behind me, the BMW ActiveHybrid X6 and the BMW Active Hybrid 7 prove that the ultimate driving machine and maximum efficiency are no contradiction in terms. The X6 ActiveHybrid – which is being built in Spartanburg – will be launched in the US in three days time and will come to Europe in April next year. We are certain both hybrid models – the X6 and the 7 Series – will be particularly attractive for US customers.
Our long-term strategy is of course the development of zero-emissions vehicles. So, let’s take a look a little bit further into the future. As I said, L.A. is a good place for this, and that’s why we brought the BMW Vision Efficient Dynamics here. This concept has already been highly acclaimed by the media.
Among the current concept electric supercars, it has been recognized as having, and I quote: “the most sophisticated technology” and “most striking design”. Yes, this concept car is definitely more than just a “zero-emissions publicity stunt”. The BMW Vision EfficientDynamics combines the world’s first diesel-electric hybrid powertrain with an aerodynamically efficient supercar body. It promises a future in which individual mobility is both fuel-efficient and fun.
Our designers and engineers decided, “Let’s not just make an optical vision, let’s take a technical standpoint as well. Let’s take the interior space of the 6 Series and the driving performance of the M3 and bring it down to 60 mpg fuel consumption.” Very simple!
This concept clearly brings the expression “Ultimate Driving Machine” to a new level. And shows that premium individual mobility definitely has a future and that it will definitely still be an emotional and joyful experience, as does the MINI E.
A year ago the all electric MINI E had its world premiere here in Los Angeles. The MINI E is the first chapter of BMW Group’s Project i, the company’s research and development unit for a new type of vehicle specifically to meet the needs of the world’s fastest growing mega-cities. We now have well over 600 MINI E on the streets of the US, Germany and starting this month also in the UK. Firstly I would like to thank all of our 450 participants in the US for helping us to explore the realities of everyday driving of an electric vehicle. Our findings from this project will provide essential information for developing the second generation of electric vehicles.
We have already announced that we will bring our Megacity Vehicle to the market in the first half of the next decade. This year we took further steps towards the development of this vehicle:
– Cooperation with SB Limotive to supply lithium-ion batteries.
– Joint venture with SGL Carbon, the world’s leading supplier of carbon materials.
This joint venture will also create new jobs in the BMW Group’s two largest markets – the United States and Germany. Los Angeles is home to some of our very first MINI E test drivers and I take great pleasure now in welcoming Michael Brand, Director of the Getty Museum, who is going to tell us about his experiences as a MINI E pioneer. Thank you for your attention.