BMW in UK and Across the World
In 1980, BMW started its operations in the UK, the only place in the world where the three brands of the BMW Group - BMW, MINI and Rolls Royce - have manufacturing centers. The UK happens to be BMW's second largest location in terms of production, and third largest in terms of sales. The BMW subsidiary in UK not only imports and stores BMWs, MINIs and motorbikes, but also distributes them through a countrywide dealer network.
BMW UK has manufacturing facilities at Oxford, Goodwood, and Swindon, sales and marketing facilities in Bracknell, and vehicle distribution centers in Thorne, near Doncaster. While Oxford is the only place in the world where the MINIs are built, the Goodwood plant can boast of being the only site in the world regarding the manufacture of Rolls Royce engines. The company markets it BMWs, MINIs and motorcycles through independent dealers, importers, subsidiaries and company owned showrooms. BMW sold about 153,312 vehicles in 2010, an increase of 10.8% from its sales in 2009. It also sold 6703 bikes in 2010.
The company employs 8000 people in the UK, and follows all the international labor regulations set by the International Labor Organization, apart from following national regulations with respect to working hours, paid leave, minimum wages, etc. BMW has plenty of opportunities to concentrate upon. The company has a valuable brand perception which works in its favor and can charge a premium on its cars based on this. It can also strike an agreement with the Chinese government to produce MINIs within the country, as there is excellent demand for these vehicles in China. It can also look at emerging markets elsewhere in the world, to offset the dwindling sales in the recession hit US and UK markets.
The company, while trying to capitalize on the opportunities listed above, cannot ignore the possible threats in the market. One of the major threats that BMW faces is tough competition in the UK from automakers such as the Volkswagen Group, Mercedes Benz, Audi, Lexus, Jaguar, Volvo, Porsche, Land Rover Freelander, Nissan, Honda, Ferrari, Aston Martin, etc. Other threats include recent norms and legislation with respect to carbon dioxide emissions, fluctuating prices of raw materials, currency risks due to high import of MINIs, etc.
BMW has always come up with various strategies to keep competition in check. One of the strategies involved BMW acquiring Rolls-Royce in 1998, and expanding the luxury segment. This bit into the Mercedes Maybach market.
BMW has clear plans for its future, up until the year 2020. It wants to be the world leader in providing premium products and services to its customers for individual mobility. It also plans to invests huge amounts on R&D, in order to develop better technologies for its vehicles. Over £800 million has been invested in the UK operations since 2000. This has helped the company innovate straight six petrol engines, hydrogen combustion engines, and Hydrogen H2R.
Despite the huge amounts invested in R&D, BMW recalled close to 26,000 BMW's and 1,200 Rolls Royce in 2010, due to faulty braking mechanisms problems. The company has been sending out mails to customers asking them to bring their vehicles for a check-up, in order to locate and fix the problem.
-Will these vehicle recalls mar BMW's reputation as a company associated with high quality vehicles?
-Will BMW's vehicles be "the ultimate driving machine" even in the future, as the company claims?