BMW is celebrating its centenary this year and its Middle East wing has enough to rejoice, going by its record business last year
Johannes Seibert does not believe in mistakes. As the managing director of BMW Group Middle East, he in turn believes that any failure or unforeseen challenge brings upon new learnings necessary to be learned. So, while the oil prices are down, the luxury retail is not going well and there is palpable instability in the region, Johannes says, “In its 100 years of history, BMW Group has learned to cope with challenges and volatility. We believe in this region, and our importers believe in our brands, therefore they continue to invest in facilities, people, training and technology.”
The confidence is obvious and the results prove; having shown a growth of 11 per cent over the previous year, with two-thirds of them were sold in the UAE market, Johannes credits their record year to three reasons. He says, “Our brands BMW and MINI are strong and well-established. We have the perfect product portfolio for our customers in the Middle East, including the all-new 7 Series. The third reason is our network of strong importers and retail dealerships, with state-of-the-art facilities and strong focus on customer orientation.”
Going by the Middle East Automotive Council numbers, the group gained share in the automotive premium segment, and is the leading brand among the European premium manufacturers. “We have seen particularly high demand for the BMW X5. For the first time ever, we delivered more than 10,000 X5s during one year to our customers. Also the new 7 Series is enjoying high demand,” Johannes points out.
According to him, the year 2015 was the most successful year ever for the BMW Group, with the company setting a new record for the fifth year in a row. A total of 2,247,485 BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce were delivered to customers around the world, an increase of 6.1% on the previous year.
The numbers might be impressive, but it the strategy that has clicked and Johannes plans to keep the thought process of long-term success going. An important pillar of the group’s enhanced customer orientation is its ‘Future Retail’ Strategy, which is presently being rolled out across the region. “Future Retail consists of various elements, including digital POS communication, a new furniture concept, and also the introduction of so-called Product Geniuses – automotive experts who will explain the products in detail to their discerning customers,” Johannes elaborates.
Giving a peek into this year’s launches, Johannes reveals that they plan to launch the all-new MINI Clubman in February. “This will be followed by the all-new MINI Convertible and BMW M2 Coupé in April,” he says.