Factories of BMW Brilliance in Shenyang expected to produce …

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BMW Brilliance Zinoro 1E

Factories of BMW Brilliance in Shenyang expected to produce 300K units in 2013

The July 5 ceremony celebrated the 10th anniversary of the BMW Brilliance with top executives in attendance. [Provided to China Daily]

BMW Brilliance aims to triple its 2012 sales to achieve even greater success in the next decade, said the joint venture’s top executive at a ceremony to mark its 10th anniversary.

The big gala was held at BMW Brilliance’s new Tiexi factory in Shenyang, Northeast China, on July 5.

The announcement follows a series of milestones for the Sino-German joint venture, which sold more than 140,000 vehicles with the BMW nameplate last year.

It was the right time for BMW and Brilliance Auto to tie the knot 10 years ago, Olaf Kastner, president and CEO of BMW Brilliance Automotive, said during an exclusive interview after the ceremony.

Because we grasped great chances in an era when China went through extraordinary changes, we have today’s achievements, he said.

When the joint venture was just established, we had a very limited production and just around one thousand employees. A few years later, development has reached beyond our expectations, Kastner said.

Today as we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we have had more than 13,000 employees, he said.

BMW Brilliance has two factories in Shenyang that will have a combined production capacity of 300,000 units by the end of this year, 10 times more than it planned a decade ago.

The 1.5-billion-euro ($1.9 billion) Tiexi factory has BMW’s most advanced paint and press workshops globally.

A new RD center at the Tiexi plant will become fully operational during the second half this year. The RD Center bears the responsibility to develop the models under the new brand ZINORO, a wholly owned BMW Brilliance brand for new energy vehicles.

By the end of the year, the RD staff is expected to number 500, most of them locals.

Construction on a new engine plant near the factory is underway and scheduled for operations in 2016.

Further localization

What makes us really proud is that our factories in Shenyang maintained world-class levels over the years, Kastner said.

Its Dadong and Tiexi factories now build the 5 Series and new 3 Series sedans with both standard and long wheelbases, as well as the X1 SAV.

Sales of the 5 Series broke through the 100,000-unit threshold for the first time in 2012, the first time ever for a single BMW model to realize such a tremendous sales record. This year its average single month sales have surpassed 10,000 units, while monthly 3 Series deliveries exceeded 5,500 units.

Chinese customers have very high demands for luxury vehicles. They want excellent and lasting quality, said Kastner.

Everything we are doing here is to deepen our understanding of local markets and better cater to the demands of our clients, he said.

That’s why customization services started this year for 5 Series customers.

In the past, customers who come to dealers could only choose existing models. Now they can add some specialized and exclusive equipments according to their own taste, Kastner said.

He told reporters that service will also soon be available to 3 Series and X1 buyers.

BMW Brilliance Zinoro 1E

He remarked that the Germans working for BMW have learned a great deal in the local market, especially the Chinese way of thinking.Last April, the automaker established its DesignworksUSA Shanghai studio, which has the major responsibility to sense the development in the country and its inclinations in design and aesthetics, said Kastner.

Looking ahead

We always think ahead of others and of the market, the CEO said, which are the keys to BMW Brilliance’s success in China.

The luxury brand has now turned its eyes to smaller cities that have strong unmet demand.

Kastner told reporters that China has 100 to 150 cities with a population of over 1 million without any luxury brand dealership.

Yet more than 50 percent of the dealerships for BMW are in small and mid-sized cities.

The joint venture is also expanding after-sale services, an ever-more important profit stream for luxury automakers in China.

The world’s first BMW brand experience center opened in Shanghai this April. The carmaker also initiated a future retail program to nurture potential customers by enhancing the sales experience at all touch points along the retail chain, a BMW executive told reporters earlier.

But looking ahead does not mean blindly expanding, said Kastner.

We want to give a clear message to Chinese customers that we invest and build factories in the country to first cater to demands here. Before such demands are fully fulfilled, we will not consider too much about other things, he said.

We believe that prospects for the Chinese market are very bright. Although growth in the luxury segment will not reach 30 to 50 percent like in the past, local customer demands for better vehicles and lifestyle will fuel sales.

Besides providing customers an enriched portfolio, we also offer them various financing services.

We are very optimistic about the mid- and long-term development here, Kastner said.

BMW Brilliance Zinoro 1E
BMW Brilliance Zinoro 1E
BMW Brilliance Zinoro 1E
BMW Brilliance Zinoro 1E
BMW Brilliance Zinoro 1E

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