BMW Looks to Youth for China’s Fu­ture

China Today (English) - - CONTENTS - By HAO YAN HAO YAN is a se­nior reporter with Chi­naDaily.

BMW’S con­cept car had its Asian pre­miere in Bei­jing last May, as t he group cel­e­brated its cen­te­nary and looked to the next gen­er­a­tio n of young Chi­nese to lead fu­ture mo­bil­ity. The BMW Group Fu­ture Ex­pe­ri­ence ex­hi­bi­tion in Bei­jing was the first stop on the world tour ti­tled “Iconic Im­pulses,” demon­strat­ing the BMW Group and its brands’ con­tin­u­ing com­mit­ment to cre­at­ing for its cus­tomers pos­i­tive, emo­tional and per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences. “Look­ing ahead to the next 100 years, the BMW Group will cre­ate ground­break­ing and re­spon­si­ble so­lu­tions,” BMW Group CEO Har­ald Krueger said at the open­ing cer­e­mony.

“We aim to at­tract young cus­tomers in China as they con­tinue to g row in num­bers,” Krueger said. He added that the lux­ury car­maker’ s vi­sion for fu­ture mo­bil­ity was to be “ef­fort­less, avail­able on de­mand, and tai­lor-made for all cus­tomers and their in­di­vid­ual needs. The next gen­er­a­tion of cus­tomers was born into the dig­i­tal age.”

Chi­nese born in the 1990s, now in their 20s, con­trib­uted about 15 per­cent to the coun­try’s in­cre­men­tal pas­sen­ger car sales in 2015. The in­dus­try pre­dicts that this pro­por­tion could rise to 45 per­cent in the next 10 years. To bet­ter serve the Chi­nese mar­ket, the Mu­nich-based group is striv­ing to un­der­stand Chi­nese cus­tomers deeply and thor­oughly, es­pe­cially the Chi­nese youth, their pref­er­ences and de­mands.

Com­mit­ment to China

The pre­mium com­pact car seg­ment is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing fast growth in the Chi­nese mar­ket, so the com­pany has de­cided to in­crease the share of com­pact cars in the BMW port­fo­lio. “The all-new BMW X1 long wheel­base is a per­fect il­lus­tra­tion of our fo­cus on the Chi­nese cus­tomer and our en­dur­ing com­mit­ment to the Chi­nese mar­ket,” Krueger said. “In ad­di­tion, an­other small sedan will soon be lo­cally pro­duced in China.”

The all-new BMW X1 long wheel­base, launched last May, and the 2 Se­ries Ac­tive Tourer, 3 Se­ries, and 5 Se­ries mod­els are man­u­fac­tured in two plants in Liaon­ing Prov­ince. The lo­cal­ized lineup will be ex­panded to six mod­els in the next few years, and an­nual pro­duc­tiv­ity is set to in­crease to 400,000 units from its pre­sent 300,000 units.

The all-new BMW X1 long wheel­base will also be of­fered in plug- in hy­brid elec­tric ve­hi­cle edi­tions to meet the newen­ergy ve­hi­cle de­mands of the Chi­nese mar­ket, es­pe­cially in cities where there are pur­chase re­stric­tions on fuel-pow­ered pas­sen­ger au­tos.

The group’s China team has de­vel­oped a new tech­nol­ogy that switches a BMW PHEV au­to­mat­i­cally into fully elec­tric mode when trav­el­ing in cer­tain re­gions, for ex­am­ple, within the Third Ring Road in Bei­jing.

“A re­search and de­vel­op­ment of­fice, a de­sign work stu­dio, and a Con­nect-

POST-90S GEN­ER­A­TION Chi­nese born in the 1990s, now in their 20s, con­trib­uted about 15 per­cent to the coun­try’s in­cre­men­tal pas­sen­ger car sales in 2015.

edDrive Lab help us gain even deeper in­sights into what our Chi­nese cus­tom - ers want and how we can de­velop even stronger ties with China,” Krueger said. “Our ties with China go back a long way, and we are strongly com­mit­ted to this mar­ket – we are here to stay. This is un­der­lined by the scale of our in­vest­ment.”

BMW Group has in­vested more than RMB 22 bil­lion (about US $3.38 bil­lion) over the past seven years in its plants in Shenyang, cap­i­tal city of north­east prov­ince Liaon­ing. It has also built a new R& D cen­ter in Shenyang. Set to start op­er­a­tions this year, the new cen­ter will make China the group’s sec­ond-largest R&D base af­ter Ger­many.

“We are very proud of the suc­cess we have achieved to­gether with our part­ner Bril­liance, and proud also to be part of Chi­nese so­ci­ety. Since 2005, our sales have in­creased ev­ery year – as lo­cal pro­duc­tion has gone up sev­eral gears,” Krueger said. The group recorded an 8.6 per­cent sales growth in the first quar­ter of this year in China, de­spite a slow­ing­down of the coun­try’s lux­ury mar­ket ex­pan­sion.

Af­ter un­veil­ing the BMW Group Fu­ture Ex­pe­ri­ence ex­hi­bi­tion in the 798 Art Dis­trict, Krueger vis­ited the Bei­jing R&D cen­ter, in which the Nat­u­ral Lan­guage Un­der­stand­ing tech­nol­ogy is lo­cal­ized and to be de­ployed in the all­new BMW 7 Se­ries tai­lored for the Chi­nese mar­ket.

BMW went all out to at­tract young cus­tomers at Auto China 2016.

BMW’s lat­est con­cept ve­hi­cle VI­SION NEXT 100, un­veiled last April at Auto China 2016 in Bei­jing.

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