For some automakers, China is uncharted waters. But for BMW, China is the next sales gold rush, as it represents the third largest market for the company. That’s why BMW has picked Shanghai as the location for its newest design studio. In building such a facility, BMW hopes to tighten its grasp on the Chinese market, where it sold a total of 183,328 units last year—a figure beaten only by the 267,160 sales in BMW’s home market of Germany and the 266,580 sales in the U.S.
The new studio will be the fourth placed under the supervision of BMW’s subsidiary design wing, California-based DesignworksUSA. Other centers that fall under Designworks’ umbrella can be found in Los Angeles, Munich and Singapore. Having an experienced design team will likely get the Shanghai studio off to a good start.
Although BMW is already producing the 3 Series and 5 Series at its plant in Shenyang, China, the automaker feels that a design studio might strengthen its connection to the Chinese people’s needs and wants. “Creative presence in Shanghai is an important strategic step for both BMW Group Design and Designworks,” said BMW director head Adrian Van Hooydonk, “designing in China will help our understanding of this inspiriting culture.”
In addition to the new studio, BMW will also be building a second plant in China to produce the X1 compact SUV. Located in Tiexi in the Shenyang region, this new plant will expand BMW’s production capacity in China to 150,000 units a year. By adding both a design studio and another plant, BMW is further securing its stake in the world’s largest auto market.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)