Welcome to the BMW Group ‘s Press Conference here in Detroit.
The start of a new year is always a good time for looking ahead. Over the years, another unique perspective has also served the BMW Group well, and that is: “looking around the corner “. That means: we are able to anticipate trends. We design for the future – and that gives us an edge today.
Dr. Klaus Draeger:
We are certainly feeling the benefits of that right now. Exceptional times call for exceptional automobiles. And what we need today are vehicles with outstanding performance and comfort that are also eco-friendly.
BMW Group vehicles have been developed in the last years with exactly this in mind – more efficiency, whilst maintaining, or even increasing the performance.
That is one of the BMW Group ‘s unique strengths. Our “ultimate driving machines ” lead the way when it comes to efficiency – not only in Europe, but also here in the USA. We would like to begin today by presenting a new concept car here in Detroit, the second BMW ActiveHybrid model: It is equipped with the BMW Group ‘s hybrid drive train – which has been developed to suit the driving qualities of the new BMW 7 Series.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Here is the BMW Concept 7 Series ActiveHybrid!
What makes this vehicle different?
1. The hybrid drive train provides exceptional driving dynamics true to a BMW.
2. The hybrid drive train significantly reduces both fuel consumption and emissions.
Like the new BMW 7 Series, the BMW Concept 7 Series ActiveHybrid has the most efficient
8-cylinder gasoline engine in its class – equipped with a new twin turbo technology and high precision injection.
It is even further optimized by the BMW ActiveHybrid technology.The 20 horsepower electric motor guarantees more torque. The power for this also comes from regenerative braking. A highly innovative lithium-ion technology is used to store the energy.
This offers our customers a unique dimension of efficiency and driving pleasure.
This means they can enjoy the luxury and comfort of the new BMW 7 Series without compromise. And they also benefit from much better fuel economy and fewer emissions.
So the BMW Concept 7 Series ActiveHybrid has no competition in the segment for hybrid luxury sedans.
Dr. Klaus Draeger:
We are showcasing another hybrid model here in Detroit: the BMW Concept X6 ActiveHybrid. This is a hybrid vehicle, also known as a two-mode hybrid: based on an 8-cylinder gasoline engine, which has been custom-made to fulfill the demands of an SAV.
The two-mode hybrid BMW uses about 20 percent less fuel than a comparable vehicle with combustion engine.
Both of these hybrids are part of our Efficient Dynamics strategy. Our highly-efficient diesel and gasoline engines – which are unrivalled – form the basis of Efficient Dynamics.
Our Efficient Dynamics strategy combines features for optimum energy management and aerodynamics with light-weight construction.
Our BluePerformance diesels are another aspect of this strategy here in the United States – you can see them right here at the front. They have been on the roads in the United States since December. There is no cleaner or dynamic way to drive a diesel.
Both hybrid models will be ready for series production in 2009. That means they will probably be available to our customers from the end of the year.
We are certain both hybrid concepts will be particularly attractive for the U.S. market. Together with our diesel models, we are able to offer U.S. customers a variety of solutions to suit different needs and tastes.
The BMW Group is certainly able to offer mature technologies for the future, today.
Now I would like to talk about the North American market – the BMW Group ‘s most important retail market in the world.
Last year we delivered a total of 303,600 vehicles of our BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brands to customers here.
Last year we sold more than 249,000 BMW vehicles in the U.S. But in the face of such difficult market conditions, that can still be considered a success. BMW is still the number one European automobile brand in the United States – and we are also gaining on the leader Lexus. The BMW brand was even able to improve its premium segment share in the U.S. by 0.4 percent to 15.1 percent market share.
At MINI we were able to increase sales by no less than 29 percent to more than 54,000 vehicles. MINI is right in sync with current trends. You ‘ll hear more about that later at our MINI press conference that starts at 3:30 pm.
In 2008 we delivered 449 Rolls-Royce motor cars to customers in the American market. The brand grew 17 percent over the previous year.
Turning now to our global sales: The BMW Group sold more than one million four hundred thousand vehicles worldwide in 2008. That leaves us 4 percent short of the previous year.
The BMW brand delivered one million two hundred thousand vehicles in 2008 – 6 percent less than in 2007.
MINI sold 232,000 cars worldwide in 2008, which represents a 4 percent increase on the previous year.
Our third premium brand, Rolls-Royce, also had a very good year. In 2008 four Rolls-Royce models were available for the first time. We sold 1,212 of these top luxury automobiles around the globe. That is 20 percent more than in 2007.
The BMW Group performed considerably better than the shrinking global premium segment overall. One reason is without a doubt, our Efficient Dynamics program.
Last but not least: In a difficult market the BMW Group managed to deliver more than 101,000 BMW motorcycles. This is almost the same number of motorcycles as last year ‘s retail success.
Let us move on to today ‘s highlight – our world premiere – the new BMW Z4!
Dr. Klaus Draeger:
What you see here is an exceptional BMW roadster in its newest and purest form! The BMW Z4 embodies everything that the BMW brand stands for – combining elegant design with exceptional driving dynamics. And yet it is still able to offer superior driving comfort and a spacious feel – features that are unique in its segment.
The Z4 continues the heritage of BMW roadsters – short overhang, long hood and a low seating position close to the rear axle. This truly separates the Z4 from all other roadsters – making the new Z4 a true BMW roadster.
The new Z4 is the first BMW roadster with a two-piece retractable hardtop. It only takes 20 seconds to open it fully.
Therefore the new Z4 offers the best everyday and all-season driving capabilities in its segment.
In the U.S., our customers can choose between two in-line 6-cylinder engines with 255 and 300 horsepower.
Performance and efficiency go hand in hand in the new BMW Z4: Efficient Dynamics features are standard in all models. They ensure the best ratio of acceleration to fuel consumption in all engine classes in the segment.
And, of course, the vehicle boasts a whole range of technical innovations, such as the “Dynamic Drive Control ” function. It offers the driver three different settings for driving: from smooth to super-sporty. Ian, where do you expect the biggest demand for the new BMW Z4 to come from?
The new Z4 is intended mainly for the North American market – just like the previous model.
Other key markets for our sporty roadster will be Germany, U.K., Italy – and Japan.
Of course we aim to sell even more of these fine-looking sports cars than we did the previous model.
Attractive new vehicles and efficient technologies will play an important part in the BMW Group ‘s sales again this year.
We are confident that we will be able to outperform the overall premium segment again in 2009. Our aim is to maintain or even expand our share in the global premium segment.
The U.S. market is extremely important to us. This is our second home – and where we have the most customers. We believe future prospects for the U.S. remain promising. For this very reason, we are standing by our long-term plans. As previously announced, we are currently investing a billion U.S. dollars in production and sales here. With this financial engagement we have already built our new administration and training center in New Jersey, our new parts distribution centers in Pennsylvania and Illinois and we are making great progress with the expansion of our plant in Spartanburg for the production of the upcoming BMW X3.
No other plant in the U.S. exports more vehicles than our plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Over 70 percent of the production is exported. In the last years we invested 4.2 Billion dollars in this facility. BMW Spartanburg, along with suppliers and distributors, employs over 23,000 people in South Carolina and together they contribute 8.8 Billion dollars to the state economy.
The current investment is a clear sign of our strong commitment to the U.S. The United States is and will be of major strategic importance for the BMW Group moving forward.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We would like to invite you to come and take a closer look at the new BMW Z4.
We appreciate your interest – and thank you for your time.