Q&A: Harald Krüger, CEO BMW Group
What is your personal story about “Wunderbar Together – Germany and the U.S.”?
I had the privilege to experience working in both Germany and the United States. Back in the early nineties, I was project manager in Plant Spartanburg. My team was responsible for the launch of the 3 series sedan. I always look back fondly on my time in South Carolina. I was really impressed by the great spirit, warm-heartedness and dedication of the people I worked together with. What both countries have in common is their work ethic. Americans and Germans are hard-working and diligent people who share the drive to improve things.
In the context of the Deutschlandjahr, BMW is dedicated to the theme “the future of mobility.” What do you envision for the year 2030?
New social and ecological challenges demand fresh thinking, new approaches and above all, the courage to break new ground. At the BMW Group, we are driving innovation in Germany, in the USA and around the world – from our Designworks studio located near Los Angeles to our R&D facilities in Silicon Valley and our tech office in Chicago. Equipped with automated driving technologies, full connectivity, and an electric drive train, our future vehicles will be smart cars. Also, there will be more options for people to move around cities – in a more intelligent and sustainable manner. A new era of individual mobility is about to begin. The four central issues in this transformation will be what we call the ACES. This stands for: Autonomous, Connected, Electrified, and Services. Our vision is: To inspire people on the move. To simplify our customers’ lives. To shape tomorrow’s individual premium mobility.
What distinguishes the transatlantic relationship for you?
The USA plays a crucial role in our BMW Group network – as a key sales market, as home to our largest production site worldwide, where we produce our globally successful BMW X-models. Plant Spartanburg is a perfect example of “Wunderbar together”. To date our associates in the USA have produced more than 4.5 million vehicles. Seventy percent of what we build in Spartanburg is exported all over the world. That makes BMW the highest value exporter of American-made vehicles. We are truly proud to be part of the very fabric of the USA and to call this great country our second home.
The PopUp Tour will make stops in Chicago, Atlanta and Portland. What made BMW decide to present at our stop in Portland?
Portland has developed into an epicenter of cultural vibrancy on the West Coast. The city enjoys a long history of promoting high-tech industries. Portland is also known for its sustainable lifestyle culture. The thriving start-up scene makes Portland the perfect home of our new mobility joint venture, REACH NOW. As part of our “Wunderbar together” activities we want to engage with local citizens on questions about the future of urban living.