– Investment of 75.5 million US Dollars in Korean Driving Centre;
– Robertson: Further commitment to Korean market with Driving Centre and enhanced R&D activities.
INCHEON, Korea —— The BMW Group celebrated the opening of its first Driving Centre in Asia, located in Incheon, Korea. The investment totals US$75.5 million up to 2020 (77 billion Korean won), and around 100 new jobs have already been created.
The BMW Group has driving experience centres in both Germany and the US, however the Driving Centre in Korea is the first one worldwide to combine both a driving track and a dedicated brand experience. It will open its doors to the public in early August 2014.
At the opening ceremony, Dr. Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Sales and Marketing BMW, said: “The Driving Centre is the next step in our commitment to Korea and to Asia. Korea is one of our fastest growing markets and now our ninth largest single market worldwide. We see more potential here and wish to grow even further. I am very happy that customers here now have more opportunity to fully experience our BMW and MINI brands.”
Concepts such as the Driving Centre are part of the BMW Group’s comprehensive ‘Future Retail’ strategy, an approach that marks a significant shift in the way that the company interacts with its customers. This programme includes new, innovative and inspiring ways for customers to experience products and brands, such as city centre Brand Stores and City Sales Outlets.
The Driving Centre accommodates a 2.6-kilometre closed circuit track where drivers can experience a variety of situations, such as high speed driving, emergency and off-road techniques, using BMW and MINI vehicles. The centre offers dedicated exhibits around BMW, MINI and BMW Motorrad vehicles, a new Junior Campus with specially tailored science education programmes on mobility and road safety for children, as well as a 12,000 sq. metre eco-friendly sports park. In total, the Driving Centre covers 240,000 sq. metre, the equivalent of 33 soccer fields.
The facilities will also serve as a new training centre for sales, customer service and product training. Furthermore, a Service Centre operated by Bavarian Motors, an authorised BMW and MINI dealer, offers customers a service point for minor problems. In addition, BMW and MINI owners can take advantage of the newly established ‘Airport Service’, where they can leave their cars for maintenance and other care programmes during their travels.
As a further sign of commitment to the market, the BMW Group also announced at the ceremony that it has opened a satellite R&D Centre in Korea.
Dr. Ian Robertson stated that, “Being one of the most highly-advanced technological nations in the world, customers in South Korea have very specific needs and expectations. Both the BMW Group and South Korea share a passion for high quality products and to be at the forefront of innovation. Therefore we have established this new R&D Centre in Korea to better serve the demands of our customers here.”
The R&D Centre began operations at the beginning of July. It is expected to have a headcount of around 20 people by the end of 2015.
The benefits of the BMW Group’s extended R&D operations are threefold: the implementation of local customer requirements and market-oriented solutions, to pick up trends in innovation through improved ties with local companies, as well as technology scouting through cooperation with local technology companies, universities and institutes.
It is the fifth satellite R&D Centre for the company worldwide, with similar centres already in operation in Japan, China, the US, and Brazil.
The BMW Group
With its three brands BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce, the BMW Group is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. As a global company, the BMW Group operates 28 production and assembly facilities in 13 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.
In 2013, the BMW Group sold approximately 1.963 million cars and 115,215 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax for the financial year 2013 was € 7.91 billion on revenues amounting to approximately € 76.06 billion. As of 31 December 2013, the BMW Group had a workforce of 110,351 employees.
The success of the BMW Group has always been based on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy.
[Source; BMW Group]