Dr. Alexander W. Wehr
President and CEO
BMW Group México, Latin America and the Caribbean
View from the Top

Preparing Now for the Next 100 Years

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 11:46

Q: How will the recent change in administration impact BMW’s operations in Mexico?

A: The company’s priority in the region is to consolidate all Latin American sales operations in Mexico City. The rationale behind this is linked to the political and economic stability offered by the country. This strategic approach will allow BMW to profit from opportunities that exist on the continent, balancing growing business opportunities with recessive markets. Operations in Mexico are growing almost 20 percent every year, while our presence in countries such as Chile or Colombia slumped by almost the same percentage. Concentrating all operations in Mexico City will align our processes more efficiently.

Q: What are the most important factors that have made BMW successful here?

A: We have a modern and advanced distribution network, with 38 BMW dealers throughout the country. All our models are rated among the first in their specific segments. BMW Group’s increased market share is related to the appeal of our vehicles and the completeness of our portfolio. We are known for offering a broad variety of concepts, ranging from sedans and coupe vehicles to cabriolets, SUVs and sports activity vehicles (SAVs). Also, we are the only manufacturer in the premium market that offers 100 percent electrified vehicles and highly advanced connectivity technology. We are even looking beyond to autonomous driving.

Q: What strategy is BMW using to commercialize environmentally friendly vehicles?

A: BMW Group is the leading supplier of products and services for sustainable individual mobility. We are the first manufacturer to launch a specific sub-brand for sustainable electric vehicles. The BMW i concept refers to an environmentally friendly value chain including R&D, vehicle production and the services we offer in conjunction with the car. We have expanded the BMW i3 range by offering a version with significantly increased battery capacity. The new battery of 94 A/h has more than 30 A/h than the previous model, increasing the vehicle’s range to 300km from 190km. In addition to the BMW i3, we also offer sustainable electric sports cars such as the BMW i8, encompassing BMW’s “the Next 100 Years” strategy. However, we cannot simply place an electric car on the street. It takes everyone’s contribution including industry suppliers, customers and the government. OEMs need the authorities to provide more incentives for consumers and to share responsibility with manufacturers. We signed an agreement with Nissan intended to promote the development of charging-station infrastructure and we have installed 150 charging stations for drivers to use nationwide. The promotion of our urban mobility vision, electric connectivity infrastructure and autonomous driving could have a positive impact on the city’s development.

Q: Which factors drove the company to invest in a new plant in San Luis Potosi?

A: Mexico is a privileged country for the automotive industry. Its free-trade agreements with the US, Europe and Latin America are complemented by a skilled workforce and supply networks. The combination of all three factors is the strongest argument Mexico has to claim its place as one of the main car manufacturers in the world. We have a productive relationship with the government of San Luis Potosi and the federal authorities. Together, we are developing the infrastructure needed to encourage industry growth, contributing to San Luis Potosi’s welfare.

BMW has set very high expectations for our plant in San Luis Potosi. This facility will start producing our BMW 3 Series in early 2019. It will be one of the biggest and our most advanced plant in terms of technology, sustainability and efficiency. Solar installations will produce most of the electricity required to operate and the plant will recycle water to minimize consumption. We have also set up a Training Center in San Luis Potosi. By the end of 2016 we will have trained around 100 apprentices on functional manufacturing technologies. The center will also work on integrating the Mexican and German labor culture. BMW finds innovation and dynamism in the Mexican market that reflect our own mission. Our clear commitment to Mexico is summarized in our “Comprometidos con México” (Committed to Mexico) plan. We appreciate the country’s potential as the leading market in Latin America.