May 01 2012
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In the driving seat
BMW recently announced its best ever quarterly results for the Middle East, which coincided with the opening of the car maker's largest showroom in the world in Abu Dhabi. Dr Joerg Breuer,
BMW Middle East
's managing director, spells out the reasons for the region's enduring affinity with the German brand
The Middle East luxury automotive industry continues to grow steadily. This, coupled with the commitment of our importer partners and the launch of seven new models, helped us achieve nine per cent sales growth, the most successful year in BMW Group 's history in the region.
What are your expectations for GCC sales this year?
How does BMW maintain strong market share among its rival German manufacturers?
The world's largest BMW showroom recently opened in Abu Dhabi. How would you define BMW's relationship with its local dealers?
We enjoy incredibly strong relationships with all importers, with most of them going back several decades, so they are well aware of the high BMW Group standards and continuous required investment to ensure our vehicles are promoted, sold and serviced in a premium way. The opening of Abu Dhabi Motors' new showroom and after sales facility is a significant milestone on local and head office level as is testament to the confidence our importer has in the growth potential of our brands.
The 7 Series continues to be BMW's luxury flag bearer. How does the model maintain its allure?
The BMW 7 Series is the undisputed flagship model in our range and is consistently one of our top three selling models in the Middle East - and has been for the first three months of 2012. In 2011 it was our highest volume selling model globally, as well as in many GCC countries. It maintains its allure because it is the epitome of luxury, elegance and innovation, all of which are qualities appreciated and desired by discerning Middle East customers. What is also interesting is that the current 7 Series was designed by two Middle East designers: Lebanese-born Karim Habib as head of exterior design and Iranian-born Nader Faghihzadeh who was responsible for the interior. The 7 Series also features a number of industry technology firsts: for example an Arabic-language iDrive control system with standardised menu guidance that grants easy access to the radio/CD, telecommunication functions and satellite navigation and others. The interface for the satellite navigation system comprising maps, menus, directions, data entry and voice guidance are all provided in Arabic with a male Arabic voice, and with an option to switch to English and other languages.
How valuable is the bespoke/customisation for BMW regionally?
This is an extremely important area of our Middle East business. A great example is the BMW 7 Series UAE 40th Anniversary Limited Edition that we displayed at the Dubai International Motor Show in November 2011. We produced 40 models that had the UAE flag on the iDrive, headrests, dashboard and rear of the car. All models were almost sold out before the show ended.
Please elaborate on the new models being launched regionally in 2012
We have already launched this year the all-new BMW 3 Series - the world's best selling premium car - and the MINI Roadster, the first open-top two-seater MINI and sixth member to join the brand's portfolio. We will introduce more new models later this year. One of our highlights is the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé, which we expect to be in high demand. It will be the first four-door Coupé in the history of the brand, which we will launch in June.
What, in your opinion, does the BMW marque represent in the minds of the Middle East driver?
The BMW Group brands represent high performance, engineering excellence and pioneering innovation, all of which are qualities appreciated and desired by discerning luxury brand lovers. The Middle East comprises some of the world's highest net worth households, therefore with high disposable income to purchase luxury goods. This, coupled with our customers' appreciation and passion to buy into strong respected brands, has resulted in BMW Group 's continuous growth year-on-year, both regionally and globally.
How does BMW's marketing strategy differ in the GCC from other markets?
The overall marketing concept for all our brand campaigns does not differ much from market to market as we are part of a global multinational with a consistent brand image. However, we need to be mindful of the multi-cultural target audiences and ensure our campaigns are relevant to both Arab and non-Arabs. Print and particularly TV continue to be very dominant advertising media in most Middle East countries and is where we tend to spend the majority of our advertising budget.
© The Gulf 2012
© Copyright Zawya. All Rights Reserved.
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