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BMW Group Press Conference speeches, NAIAS Detroit 2016

Good morning, it's great to be back in Detroit! What a great way to kick-off our centenary year! 100 years ago, the roots of the BMW Group began. Today, we enjoy much success as "The Ultimate Driving Machine".

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Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO of BMW of North America

Good morning and a warm welcome at a very special time for BMW!

In 2015 we marked the 40th Anniversary of BMW of North America.

And we set a new record, selling more than 346,000 vehicles - the highest US volume in BMW's history. This result also makes BMW the Number One premium brand in the United States!


Our ongoing sales success continues to be driven by the debut of exceptional new products - from the all-new BMW X1 through to our flagship, the all-new BMW 7 Series. Every one offers the highest levels of performance, aesthetics and innovation. And every one upholds our enduring commitment as the maker of the Ultimate Driving Machine.


But BMW's long-standing success in the US goes well beyond our products.

Our commitment to this market - and the footprint we've established here -

is strong and far reaching. A prime example is our manufacturing plant in South Carolina, a cornerstone of production for the BMW Group.


In fact, the plant achieved a new record in 2015, producing over 400,000 BMWs.

This record now makes Spartanburg the single largest plant for the BMW Group in the world! Spartanburg is the production site for our X3, X4, X5, and

X6 models. In fact, our X models are the fastest growing segment for BMW, representing one third of BMW's overall 2015 sales in the US. No doubt, our Spartanburg plant plays an important role for the BMW Group. It is also home of the next new model we are pleased to show you today.


Ladies and gentlemen, making its world debut, the all-new BMW X4 M40i!

Emotion… Desire… Excitement… these are mere words that only attempt to describe the true experience behind the wheel of this all-new M Performance model. And once again BMW proves that "M" is the most powerful letter in the world.


From first glance, the X4 M40i shows its M performance positioning with a sporty coupe roof-line and a wide stance. But it's what lies underneath that proves the performance roots of the X4 M40i. Also making its world debut, our M Engineers have created an all-new M-tuned version of the 3.0 liter straight-6 engine that delivers 355 brake horsepower and 0-60 in 4.7 seconds. This is our top performance X4 model, and it once again proves our unrelenting drive to provide the finest premium performance vehicles anywhere.


Over the last 40 years, it has been our enduring commitment to our philosophy that remains a cornerstone of BMW's success in America today.


But the history of BMW Group's success is much longer. This year we celebrate a truly global milestone - 100 Years of the BMW Group. And over these last 100 years, the BMW Group has thrived to become the success story it is today. By pausing to reflect on our company's historic progress, we see that at every point along the way, the BMW Group has always been a future-oriented company, taking a look ahead to shape the future. And this thinking will continue as the company looks to "The Next 100 Years".


I am now pleased to welcome Board Member Dr. Ian Robertson to tell you more about the BMW Group worldwide.


Dr. Ian Robertson (HonDSc), Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Sales and Marketing BMW, Sales Channels BMW Group


Good morning, it's great to be back in Detroit! What a great way to kick-off our centenary year! 100 years ago, the roots of the BMW Group began.

Today, we enjoy much success as "The Ultimate Driving Machine".


This dynamic car – the BMW 2002 turbo - symbolizes an era that was very special for BMW. The BMW 02 Series put BMW on the map here in the US and it made the company what it is today.


Five decades ago, the 02 Series introduced the world to a sporty, lightweight and compact sedan, and it proved that practical, reliable cars could also be a lot of fun. The most powerful car in the series was this one - the 2002 turbo. What our engineers did back then, has made it a legend today. With a combination of know-how from Motorsport and groundbreaking technology, the 2002 turbo was Europe's first turbocharged production car. Customers were thrilled by the 170 BHP, maximum speed of 132 miles per hour (211 kph) and acceleration from 0 to 60 (100 kph) of around 7 seconds.


Most importantly, the 02 Series established BMW as a legitimate contender in the US. For most Americans, the 2002 was the first BMW they had ever seen on the streets. It attracted a strong following and is now a cult classic among BMW enthusiasts. Its success paved the way for the launch of BMW of North America in 1975.


„Aus Freude am Fahren" and "The Ultimate Driving Machine" were largely based on the sporting pedigree the company earned on the strength of both the 02 Series and the 3.0 CSL. Today, you will find that DNA in every vehicle we create.


Demonstrating that this commitment is alive and well… we would now like to present the world premiere of the new BMW M2 Coupé!


Hear that engine and instantly you realize that BMW M cars are a breed apart!


Ladies and Gentlemen, the first ever BMW M2 Coupe!


It is "the very soul" of what BMW stands for.


The first-ever BMW M2 is not only the legitimate successor to the BMW 1 Series M Coupe - it also continues the tradition of compact, high-performance sports cars that started with the 2002 turbo. It is characterised by a highly emotional M design language. A bold, Motorsport-inspired appearance with an exceptionally wide stance which reflects its powerful presence.


The strong heart of the BMW M2 Coupe is its three-litre straight-six Twin-Power Turbo engine which delivers 365 brake horsepower and a sprint from 0 to 60 in just 4.2 seconds. The new BMW M2 Coupe has all it takes: Extrovert styling, outstanding performance with rear-wheel-drive agility, and lightweight aluminium front and rear axles from the BMW M3/M4 models.


Market launch is April this year and I am absolutely sure that U.S. customers will especially love this car. And I am very confident that the BMW M2 Coupe will continue the BMW M success story.


BMW M had an outstanding year in 2015! Full-year sales of BMW M vehicles worldwide were up nearly 65 per cent, totalling around 35,000 units. And sales of our ever-growing range of BMW M Performance vehicles grew over 16 percent last year to total around 28,000 units. And I am delighted that Americans are such big fans of our BMW M vehicles - it is clearly our largest market.

BMW M's strong performance last year helped contribute to the most successful sales year ever for BMW and the BMW Group.


Last year we sold around two and a quarter million BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce vehicles worldwide - this was an increase of 6.1 per cent on the previous year and the fifth consecutive record year for the BMW Group.


BMW, MINI, and BMW Motorrad all achieved new sales records and Rolls-Royce posted the second best sales year in its history.


BMW i also had a good year: The BMW i3 has established itself at the pinnacle of its segment. In 2015, we sold almost 30,000 BMW i3 and BMW i8 vehicles worldwide. The BMW i3 is the world's third-best-selling pure electric car. We are transferring our knowledge from BMW i and will electrify the whole fleet. This year we'll add several new models as plug-in hybrid versions, including the BMW 3 and 7 Series.


As I mentioned, this year is a very special one for the BMW Group. We will celebrate the official start of our centenary on the 7th March, followed by events in other key markets. The United States is our second home and of course we will bring the celebrations to the U.S.


This great milestone will inspire us to do better, to go further and to aspire even higher, with our focus firmly on the "Next 100 Years".


In 2016, we are again aiming for sustainable growth. The new BMW 7 Series and the BMW X1 have both had an excellent start and we expect them to provide further sales momentum as we progress through the year. We will also continue our strategy of geographically balanced growth. And, we will continue to invest in innovative drive-train technologies, lightweight design and connectivity.


One thing is for sure: We are continually evolving whilst remaining true to our DNA: "The Ultimate Driving Machine", with innovation and technology at its heart.


Thank you.


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