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Speeches of Mr. Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO, BMW of North America, Dr. Herbert Diess, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development, Dr. Ian Robertson (HonDSc), Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Sales and Marketing, BMW Group Press Conference, North American International Auto Show, Detroit, January 14, 2013

2012 was another remarkable year for the BMW Group in the United States. With more than 347,000 BMW and MINI vehicles sold in this country alone, 2012 was our best sales year ever. This all-time record also makes BMW the leader of the premium segment in the U.S. for the second year in a row.

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Mr. Ludwig Willisch

Good morning and welcome to BMW!


2012 was another remarkable year for the BMW Group in the United States. 

With more than 347,000 BMW and MINI vehicles sold in this country alone, 2012 was our best sales year ever.  This all-time record also makes BMW the leader of the premium segment in the U.S. for the second year in a row.


The dedication and hard work of our dealers and the team at BMW of North America played a huge role in making this happen.  Equally important is our ongoing commitment to introducing new and renewed vehicles in the market. 


Over the past year, we have introduced 14 new and renewed vehicles in the U.S. –the most ever in one year.  This morning we will introduce seven more, but more on that in a minute.


A significant driver of the BMW Group's success is the BMW 3 Series and last year we launched its 6th generation here in Detroit.  It is the perfect sports sedan and for many of our customers it is their first experience with the Ultimate Driving Machine. 


Just how popular is this vehicle here? 


The 3 Series makes up almost half of all BMW vehicles sold in the U.S., making it the segment leader.  The 3 Series has also made an important impact on BMW's manufacturing footprint in North America.  The decision to build our factory in South Carolina over two decades ago included plans to produce the 3 Series.  In fact, the very first car off the line when the factory opened was a 3 Series sedan.


Since then, our Spartanburg plant has been integral in expanding the BMW Group's product portfolio.  2012 is also the first time the Spartanburg plant produced over 300,000 vehicles in one year.  Not only is it an all-time record performance, it represents a 90% increase in production over the last two years.


Over the last decade we have invested 5 billion dollars in the Spartanburg plant.  Today, it is the exclusive producer of all BMW X3, X5 and X6 vehicles, with over 70% of them being exported worldwide.  This makes BMW the biggest North American vehicle exporter and 30% of all new BMW vehicles sold in the US are proudly produced in South Carolina.


As you know, our success extends beyond the United States.  To fill in the global picture, please welcome the BMW Group Member of the Board of Management responsible for Development, Dr. Herbert Diess.


Dr. Herbert Diess

Ladies and gentlemen, it's great to be here in the United States - the BMW Group´s home away from home.  Our success in the U.S. highlights our worldwide achievements in 2012. 


Looking ahead, we remain positive on a global level.  The BMW Group will continue aiming for balanced sales worldwide, in large and small countries alike.  This is possible because of our strong and growing product portfolio of dynamic and fuel-efficient vehicles.


As the head of development, it is my job to ensure that in every segment we enter,

BMW vehicles offer the premier combination of:

  • dynamics,
  • efficiency, and
  • aesthetics.


Why?  Because they combine to create something unique: Sheer Driving Pleasure - the heart of BMW.  To ensure we always offer this, we remain focused on innovation, which leads us into the future.  Later this year we will bring the mobility of tomorrow onto the roads.  We are committed to electro-mobility and will offer the world's first purpose-designed all-electric vehicle: the BMW i3.


The BMW i3 will deliver the emotional driving experience you expect from BMW - accelerating from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than 8 seconds.  The BMW i3 is well-suited for driving in cities: it is agile and emits no CO2 while driving.  The relatively high seating position provides a great view of all the action around you.


All of the BMW i3's advances create e-mobility with a new take on Sheer Driving Pleasure.  We achieved this by reinventing how electric vehicles can be made.  Our BMW i models are developed as fully electric or plug-in hybrid cars from the ground up.  They are truly "born electric". 


The BMW i3 will be the world's first series-production model featuring a passenger cabin made from carbon fiber.  This is a real game-changer.  We did this to compensate for the additional weight of the batteries.  This ensures we will continue offering our customers dynamic performance across our entire portfolio.


With BMW i we are not just creating breakthrough vehicles - it represents an entirely new approach: from design to manufacturing to sales and service.


The U.S. also plays an important role in the future of e-mobility.  Carbon fiber used to manufacture BMW i vehicle bodies is made in Moses Lake, in the state of Washington.  We operate the site together with our partner SGL Carbon.  We chose Washington State because it is the largest producer of hydropower in the United States — sustainable production for sustainable vehicles. 


We know customers in the United States demand the best.  You can be sure that with an electric or combustion engine, BMW will always offer "The Ultimate Driving Machine".  This means a pure, emotional, and sustainable driving experience in every car we make.


Looking at our innovations already available, you can see here the BMW 320i, the latest BMW 3 Series to hit American streets.  This 3 Series has a four-cylinder engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology, producing 180 horsepower.  In my eyes it is a perfect car to drive in the U.S., offering an unbeatable blend of design, sportiness, and low emissions.  We are the first car company to offer the LTE mobile internet standard.  This allows you to be even better connected with your world outside the car.


For winter here in Michigan, this other vehicle is the right choice for many.  The BMW 328i Sports Wagon with xDrive variable all-wheel drive offers the comforts you want and delivers the traction you need on winter roads.  The 3 Series Sports Wagon combines great performance with plenty of room for a long trip.


For those times when you want to hit the open road and leave it all behind, this is your ride.  Ladies and gentlemen, the new BMW Z4!  This sporty roadster is pure fun to drive, especially when your destination is wherever your driving passion takes you.  It's like it was designed just for America! 


New for the Z4 is a retractable hard top that can be opened and closed at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour and now the hardtop is also available in two contrasting colors: silver and black.


All of these vehicles can be customized to suit individual needs, yet one feature is standard for each and every customer: Sheer Driving Pleasure. 


When it comes to driving excitement, we've been pushing the envelope for over 40 years with BMW M.  Ladies and gentlemen, you're about to experience why M is still the most powerful letter in the world.  Thank you!


Dr. Ian Robertson

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm thrilled to be back in Detroit - especially with so much great news to share!  2012 was a phenomenal year for the BMW Group. 


Across our BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brands, we delivered a record of nearly 1.85 million vehicles to customers worldwide, growing sales by almost 11 percent year over year.  We're carrying this momentum into 2013 and optimistic we will once again set a new sales record this year.


Giving the BMW Group confidence that we'll continue our strong growth this year and beyond is our expanding portfolio of:

  • highly aesthetic,
  • highly innovative, and
  • highly desirable vehicles.


You don't have to look any further for proof than this car right here.  Celebrating its World Premiere in Detroit, the BMW M6 Gran Coupe!  With just a glance, you can see how the legendary power of BMW M is interpreted in the new M6 Gran Coupe:

  • Large air intakes and a kidney grill created exclusively for this car;
  • A sleek silhouette thanks to its elongated wheelbase and
  • A carbon fiber diffuser in the rear apron to optimize airflow.


Inside you'll find the next level in performance-inspired luxury.  The M6 Gran Coupe cockpit seamlessly blends a sports car experience with an elegant ambience.  From the absolute latest in BMW ConnectedDrive technologies to hand-selected supple leather as standard, every detail has been refined for our most discerning M customer.


As stunning as it is standing still, the BMW M6 Gran Coupe looks best in motion.  Launching from zero to sixty miles per hour in around four seconds, this car is made to move.


The new BMW M6 Gran Coupe is equal parts:

  • breathtaking performance,
  • sophisticated technologies, and
  • luxurious driving experience. 


Individually, these elements are superlative.  Together, they create a masterpiece - a car without compromise and the best BMW M has to offer. 


As the biggest BMW M market in the world, we're confident the new M6 Gran Coupe will be right at home in the United States.  After all, it's innovative and beautiful vehicles like this one that make the BMW lineup so desirable - and successful - here in America.


But the BMW Group's strength in the United States is nothing new.  We've been building on our achievements here since establishing our North American headquarters in 1975.  That same year, BMW created an icon when the BMW 3 Series Sedan was introduced to the world.  Our approach to the Sedan was simple: create the best car in the segment and over the last 38 years the BMW 3 Series Sedan has been defining its segment.  In 1991 we again set out to create the best car in a segment - this time with a Coupe and just like its Sedan sibling, the BMW 3 Series Coupe sets the benchmark. 


It's been a huge success with over 1.28 million cars sold right around the world to date.  BMW continues its global success because our approach to creating the Ultimate Driving Machine remains the same: develop the absolute best cars in every segment through an engineering and design-based approach.


Today, we're introducing a new chapter in BMW's history: the BMW Concept 4 Series Coupe!  Ladies and gentlemen, the BMW Concept 4 Series Coupe is like no vehicle we've created. It has a truly unique combination of:

  • presence,
  • elegance, and
  • dynamics. 

In designing the Concept 4 Series, we were determined to make a Coupe that stands above all others in its class.  The result is an entirely new Coupe with more aesthetic differentiation and more product substance.  The birth of the Concept 4 Series brings with it new interpretations of BMW's iconic design language.  At the front, you can see:

  • the kidney grill is closed off to enhance aerodynamics; and
  • the Corona headlights are hexagonal LEDs, visually connecting the lights and kidney grill - day and night.


In addition to its wide track, the wheelbase has been extended.  This gives it an athletic stance and sets the car in motion before you ever step on the gas pedal.  All of these elements take BMW's sport-inspired design a powerful step forward. 


The dynamic sophistication on the outside of the Concept 4 Series also defines the inside.  The interior was envisioned and crafted by BMW Individual.  From the sustainably-tanned leather to the natural Chestnut wood trim, the driver and passengers are surrounded in craftsmanship and exclusivity.


And the even-numbered badge is right in line with our heritage of extraordinary BMW Coupes.  As our 6 Series and 8 Series have done, I'm confident the Concept 4 Series will also define its segment.


Now, ladies and gentlemen, please come up and take a closer look at the next benchmark in its class, the BMW Concept 4 Series Coupe.  Thank you.


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