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Speeches BMW Group Press Conference, North American International Auto Show Detroit 2015
Speeches Dr. Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management, Sales and Marketing BMW, and Mr. Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO BMW of North America at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, 2015.
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Mr. Ludwig Willisch
Good morning and a very special welcome at a very special time for BMW.
Once again, we finished 2014 as the Number One premium brand in the United States, selling almost 340,000 units - a new record, and the highest US volume in BMW's history. And we're proud to be the premium leader in the Americas - from Canada to South America.
But BMW's long-standing success in the US goes well beyond our products.
This year we are proud to celebrate BMW of North America's 40th Anniversary.
Our long-standing commitment to this market - and our footprint we've established here -
is strong and far reaching.
For example, in South Carolina, our manufacturing plant is a cornerstone of production for BMW. In fact, the plant achieved a new record in 2014, producing over 350,000 BMWs. In all, BMW is responsible for supporting over 70,000 jobs in America.
Where we are today is a result of our unrelenting drive to grow BMW in this country, and provide the finest premium performance vehicles available anywhere.
As 2015 marks the company's 40th Anniversary in the US, these achievements are especially impressive when we reflect on our humble beginnings.
When BMW of North America was founded in 1975, we offered only 4 models and sold around 19,000 cars.
But BMW had a clear vision:
- establish our performance and engineering reputation in the US,
- and set in stone BMW as the Ultimate Driving Machine.
To grow the brand, we knew we had to get more visibility, so we decided to go racing!
In January 1975 we entered the challenging IMSA GT endurance series, which included the 24 hours of Daytona and the 12 hours of Sebring, with a very clear mission:
Ladies and gentlemen, we're proud to have the 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL on the stand here today! This CSL stunned everyone who witnessed it - particularly our competitors who only saw it from behind.
At Sebring in 75, this car secured the first victory for our new American company.
And other victories - such as Daytona a year later - followed.
Yet, the CSL's greatest achievement was to help firmly establish the company as the maker of the Ultimate Driving Machine.
And over the last 40 years, it has been our enduring commitment to this philosophy that remains a cornerstone of BMW's success in the US today.
BMW is about the future! And this BMW CSL is an important precursor to the latest models we have to show you today!
Dr. Ian Robertson
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The 40th year of BMW North America will indeed be an exciting one.
And the excitement will continue to build as we look ahead to 2016, which marks the 100th anniversary of the BMW Group.
You can be certain we will continue to embrace the unique DNA that formed the Ultimate Driving Machine - to give our customers the driving pleasure they have come to expect from us.
We will continue to invest in
- innovative drive-train technologies,
- lightweight design
- and connectivity.
We will continue on our strategic path towards long-term profitable development.
Last year was the most successful sales year ever for the BMW Group.
It was the first time in our history that we sold over two million vehicles worldwide.
It was our fourth consecutive year of record sales, and once again, we continued to lead the global premium segment. We are, therefore, on track to meet our business targets for the financial year.
This success drives us forward.
Looking ahead: In 2015 we want to build upon the momentum we've achieved in the past years.
Once again, we're aiming for further growth and a new all-time high in global sales. And we will aim for a balanced distribution of sales between Europe, Asia and the Americas.
We'll achieve further growth through the expansion of our product portfolio.
This year alone, the BMW Group will launch around 15 new models and model revisions, including the BMW X5 xDrive 40e, which shows the capabilities of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle technology.
It will add a new chapter to the very successful BMW X family, which now comprises close to 30% of global BMW sales.
To accommodate the strong global demand for these vehicles, we will expand the production in Spartanburg to 450,000 vehicles by 2016, making this plant the largest within the BMW Group global production network.
This once again demonstrates the pivotal role that the US plays in our global business.
The US is already our largest market for our electric vehicles, the BMW i3 and BMW i8. Worldwide, we sold close to 18,000 BMW i models last year.
Nearly three-quarters of these sales occurred in the second half of the year, when the global roll-out - including the US - really got underway.
Demand for these vehicles continues to be high and I'm delighted that we've been able to increase production to meet that demand.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The BMW brand stands for sustainability as much as for dynamics and sporting flair.
These next vehicles represent the epitome of BMW sports performance and luxury.
Please enjoy - the world premiere of the new BMW 6 Series!
Over three generations, the BMW 6 Series has defined that unique blend of style and elegance, with the performance and handling that one would expect of The Ultimate Driving Machine.
Today, we offer three distinct body styles to suit our customers' varying needs:
- the sporty two-door Coupé,
- the open-air Convertible and
- the unique four-door Gran Coupé.
These are clearly the sportiest and most luxurious 6 Series vehicles we have ever built. And of course each model is available as an M version.
They have a great set of new features and I'd like to give you just a few highlights.
The newly designed front and rear aprons, LED headlights and BMW kidney grille, accentuate the body's powerful stance.
On the performance side, the suspension and steering settings have been refined, and customers can choose from an unrivaled variety of driving dynamic features.
Aerodynamic features, together with the extensive package of BMW EfficientDynamics technologies, means these models are even more fuel-efficient than before.
In addition to all the performance and technology refinements we've added, our priority was also to satisfy our customers' desire for luxury.
New packages, such as Design Pure Experience and Design Pure Excellence, give our customers even more choice. Now they can emphasize sportiness or luxury as they desire.
For even more discerning customers… In the US, we offer a unique BMW Individual "Consultation Program". Customers can work directly with a Designer from BMW Group Designworks USA to commission their own, exclusive BMW.
Worldwide, almost 80,000 6 Series have been sold in three years, with the Gran Coupé now claiming almost half of those sales.
And we're very proud that US customers really love our BMW 6 Series vehicles - more than one-third of them are sold in the US.
We fully expect these new models - which will be available in spring - to continue the success story.