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Study the Development of Bmw

In: Business and Management

Submitted By andywu
Words 8363
Pages 34
9-699-044
REV: NOVEMBER 1, 2001

STEFAN THOMKE

BMW AG: The Digital Car Project (A)
“Looks great,” thought Chris Bangle as he walked by a picture of the new BMW 3-Series which was about one year away from its scheduled 1998 launch in Germany. Bangle, a former Wisconsin native, who became the company’s director of worldwide design at age 35, glanced at his watch. In just 30 minutes, he would meet with other senior managers about project recommendations that might revolutionize the way cars had been designed over the past eight decades at BMW. The meeting was in the inner sanctum of BMW’s research and engineering building, the Forschungs-und Ingenieurszentrum, known locally as the “FIZ” (pronounced “fits”). Built in 1987, this massive building centralized the work of 40 facilities previously scattered through Munich. All work from product concept to pilot production occurred in the FIZ. But only a privileged few out of the five thousand who worked in the building had ever visited this corner of the company where the meeting was to be held. Bangle pulled out his card key that would let him pass through a sleek space-age security system that resembled an oval chamber. After negotiating a push card entry system, a set of doors slid close behind him and another set opened up to reveal the styling area—a world of future visions, inhabited by many life-size clay models of cars under development that would eventually come to life on roads of the next millennium. BMW had weathered several storms over the past century, almost spluttering out of business thrice. On one humbling occasion in the firm’s early history, it survived by using its machinery to manufacture cooking pots and pans. Now BMW rode high, outperforming many other European auto manufacturers. It had become one of the few European companies consistently making both cars and profits. Yet, BMW had one of the...

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