Business / Auto China

BMW looks to young for China's future

By Hao Yan (China Daily) Updated: 2016-05-09 14:27

BMW looks to young for China's future

BMW's concept car, which debuted in Munich in March, has its Asian premiere in Beijing on Thursday.CHINA DAILY

BMW's concept car had its Asian premiere in Beijing on Thursday, as the group celebrates its centenary and looks to the next generation of young Chinese to lead future mobility.

The BMW Group Future Experience exhibition in Beijing is the first stop of the world tour titled "Iconic Impulses", demonstrating the BMW Group and its brands continuing commitment to creating positive, emotional and personal experiences for its customers.

"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.

He pointed that the luxury carmaker's vision for future mobility is to be effortless, available on demand and tailor-made for all customers and their individual needs.

"We aim to attract the young customers in China as they continue to grow in numbers," Krueger said. "The next generation of customers was born into the digital age."

Chinese who were born in the 1990s and now are aged in their 20s, contributed about 15 percent to the country's incremental passenger car sales in 2015. The industry predicts that 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 young Chinese, and learn their preferences and demands.

BMW looks to young for China's future

BMW Vision Next 100 CHINA DAILY

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.

Krueger said: "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.

"In addition, another small sedan will be locally produced in China soon. "

The all-new BMW X1 long wheelbase, which will be launched in late May, 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 300,000 units at the present stage.

The all-new BMW X1 long wheelbase will also be offered in plug-in hybrid electric vehicle editions to meet the new-energy vehicle demands of the Chinese market, especially in some cities with the purchase restriction of fuel-powered passenger cars.

The group's China team has developed a new technology that switches a BMW PHEV automatically into fully electric mode when running in certain regions, for example, within the third ring road in Beijing.

Krueger said: "A research and development office, a design work studio and a ConnectedDrive Lab help us gain even deeper insights into what our Chinese customers want and how we can develop even stronger ties with China.

"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 22 billion yuan ($3.38 billion) over the past seven years in its plants in Shenyang, the capital city of Liaoning province.

The group has also built a new R&D center in Shenyang. Set to start operation this year, the new center will make China the group's second-largest R&D base after Germany.

Krueger said: "We are very proud of the success we have achieved together with our partner Brilliance and we are proud to be part of Chinese society. Since 2005, our sales have increased every year - as local production has gone up several gears."

The group recorded 8.6 percent sales growth in the first quarter of this year in China, despite a slowing 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 all-new BMW 7 Series tailored for the Chinese market.

The BMW Vision Next 100 concept car debuted to the world in Munich in March, and its global tour will also visit the United Kingdom and the United States.

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