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BMW Group Press Conference, NAIAS Detroit 2017.

BMW Group Press Conference speeches by Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO of BMW of North America and Dr. Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Sales and Marketing BMW at the NAIAS, Detroit, 2017.

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Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO of BMW of North America


Good morning and welcome to the BMW Group! Today it is our pleasure to present a range of new models - most importantly, the all-new BMW 5 Series which you will see in a just a moment.


The 5 Series has always remained core to our brand. And since 1975 it was a car that further established BMW as “The Ultimate Driving Machine” in the US.

Today, we are proud America remains the single largest market for the BMW 5 Series in the world! And for 10 of the last 12 years, the 5 Series Sedan has led over its most direct competitors in the US!


The success of the 5 Series in America is just one example of the strong bond the BMW Group has with this country. And over the last four decades, the United States has truly become our second home! This country has influenced our global thinking in terms of production, technology, design, and our vision of future mobility.


Today our industry is more global than ever before. And it is part of why we chose the US as the first and only place to show all four of our Centenary Vision NEXT 100 vehicles. It’s also why we debuted our fourth vehicle, the VISION NEXT 100 Motorrad in California!


Riding is a true passion in America! While the BMW VISION NEXT 100 Motorrad expresses our Future Vision of riding, this all-new BMW K 1600 B represents the “Joy of Riding” that will come later this summer!


This new model perfectly expresses our passion for riding with its cruiser-inspired design, 6-cylinder performance and genuine touring qualities. It truly captures “The spirit of the open road”.


America is not only one of our most important markets – it’s also one of our oldest for BMW Motorrad. We know the first BMW motorcycle appeared on US roads in 1927. Since that time we’ve been investing in broadening the appeal of our product range by growing our model portfolio in both existing and new segments. From our HP4 race bike at one end of the spectrum, to our sustainable C Evolution electric scooter at the other end, our portfolio is the best it’s ever been with over 20 model variants and growing!  And this BMW K 1600 Bagger will provide further momentum for BMW!


In America our motorcycle business is in an excellent position! In 2016, the United States was once again our number-two market after Germany.  And we will continue to grow our business with new products tailored to American tastes, and by further enhancing our US retail network.


While I‘m certain our product offensive and investments in our sales network will drive the success of BMW Motorrad in America, it is just one of four important pillars that make up the BMW Group. 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!


Here we have the very first M Performance BMW 7 Series!

The BMW M760, with around 610 horsepower is truly “The Ultimate Driving Machine”. This vehicle underscores our desire to strengthen our presence in the Large Luxury Class and expand our M portfolio. And very soon we will begin the worldwide media launch for the M760 in California, at our BMW Performance Center – which is really a fantastic place to drive this car!

Back in 1954, the very first BMW “Ultimate Driving Machine” drove on to American streets. Today – as Ludwig said – the US is clearly our second home:


  • It’s the second largest market for the BMW Group worldwide
  • It’s home to over 650 dealers for all our brands
  • Together with them and our direct suppliers, we employ around 70,000 people across this great country
  • It is the largest market for our BMW M cars
  • And it is the leading market for our BMW i cars.Over the past two decades, we have invested a total of seven billion dollars in our Spartanburg facility in South Carolina, our worldwide Center of Competence for our X family vehicles.

Spartanburg is now the largest plant in our global production network – and that is a clear statement about our commitment to this country. We will be adding the BMW X7 to our production here in the US, and I’m sure that especially American customers are going to love this car. Talking about expansion of the X family - next year the BMW X2 will hit the market, but if you can’t wait that long, just over there you can see the concept version, which we’re showing today for the very first time in the USA. Our X family vehicles now make up over 30% of our BMW sales.

Their continued strong performance contributed to 2016 being the most successful year ever for the BMW Group. For the sixth consecutive year, the BMW Group achieved a new all-time high in sales. Last year we sold more than 2.3 million BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce vehicles, a growth of 5.3 percent. BMW, MINI, and BMW Motorrad all achieved new sales records.For the BMW brand, it’s the first time we sold over two million vehicles in a year. Growth was driven by exciting new models, such as the sixth generation of the 7 Series, which had its most successful first year of sales ever. For the very first time, MINI delivered over 350,000 cars to customers. Rolls-Royce sales were the second-highest ever recorded in the company’s 113-year history. And BMW Motorrad achieved its sixth consecutive all-time high in sales.

This year, the BMW Group is again aiming for sustainable growth. Profitability remains our primary focus. We will also continue our strategy of a balanced distribution of worldwide sales. And, we will continue to invest strongly in innovative technologies.All brands at the BMW Group benefit from the transfer of technologies within the company.

We also utilize our engineering expertise outside the world of automobiles, especially in the area of sport. BMW has always had a strong commitment to sport – it’s simply part of who we are. We are very proud to be Global Partner of the 35th America’s Cup, which is the most technically demanding sailing event in the world. The America’s Cup Match will take place in Bermuda in June this year. BMW is ORACLE TEAM USA’s Technology Partner, supporting them with engineering expertise. This includes the aerodynamic optimization of the AC 50 Yacht, which will be launched in a few weeks’ time. We even assign certain engineers to the team for the entire cooperation, to create the “Ultimate Sailing Machine”. We are delighted that the two time America’s Cup winner - skipper and helmsman of ORACLE TEAM USA can join us today. Please welcome Jimmy Spithill!

Dialogue: Ian Robertson and Jimmy Spithill

The transfer of technology we use in the auto industry to one of the most technically demanding sporting competitions in the world is fascinating.

Every minor improvement can have a major effect. Thanks to aerodynamic expertise and lightweight design, BMW vehicles are constantly becoming more efficient.


Our own business athlete, the new BMW 5 Series is a great example of this: its class-leading aerodynamics were also perfected at our R&D centre in Munich.

The seventh generation of the BMW 5 Series is the most dynamic and innovative yet – and without a doubt, it will continue to set the benchmark:


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’m very proud to present to you the World Premiere of the new BMW 5 Series!


The BMW 5 Series is the world’s most successful business sedan. And now, it’s even better: The new model is lighter, quicker, more advanced and more spacious. Intelligent lightweight construction translates into a weight reduction of up to 100 kilos, which makes it even more agile. It offers an unbeatable driving experience, best in class efficiency, as well as innovative comfort and safety features. It offers the most advanced driver assistance systems, with major leaps towards autonomous driving, such as Remote Control Parking and Driving Assistant Plus, with driver support up to 130 mph (210km/h).


You are looking at the most innovative BMW 5 Series ever!


The full range of models will be on the market in the next couple of months, including both the plug-in hybrid and the M Performance model you see here.

On my left is the M Performance car, the M550i xDrive. It is spectacular, taking sportiness to a whole new level. With 456 horsepower, it sprints from 0 to 60 in under 4 seconds. On my right is the plug-in hybrid BMW 530e iPerformance. It will be our fourth iPerformance model in the US and the first one to be offered in both rear and all-wheel drive. In the European test cycle, it achieves 50 kilometers on electric drive and consumes just 1.9 litres per hundred kilometres driven.


The BMW Group is the world’s most successful provider of plug-in hybrid vehicles in the premium segment. Last year we reached the great milestone of 100,000 electrified vehicles on the road – that’s the combined figure over the last three years, since the launch of the i3. This year, we’re aiming for a new milestone – to deliver 100,000 electrified vehicles in 2017 alone.


The addition in the coming months of the BMW 5 Series and MINI Countryman plug-in hybrids is sure to provide further momentum. And of course, we will be transferring BMW i technologies to all other Group brands, series and models, as time goes on. At BMW Motorrad, the electric C evolution will come to the US for the very first time in September. Looking further ahead, we will launch a pure electric MINI in 2019 and a pure electric BMW X3 in 2020.


The success of our electrified vehicles shows that we are already well on track, and our message is clear: We intend to remain at the very forefront of electromobility.

Thanks again everyone for coming by today to see the World Premiere of the new BMW 5 Series – I look forward to seeing you throughout the year.


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