BMW has successfully set the benchmark for luxury motoring since the 1980s, creating a standard now fiercely contested by other manufacturers, not least countrymates Mercedes-Benz and Audi, and Japanese challenger Lexus. Meanwhile, the group has diversified. Having finally pulled the plug on a disastrous 1990s dalliance with Britain's Rover, BMW now offers only the enormously successful relaunched Mini at the lower end of its range, and ultra-prestige Rolls-Royce marque at the top. More important perhaps has been the expansion of the core BMW marque with new models including the entry-level 1 series, the hugely popular X-series SUV range, and high-performance hybrid and all-electric BMWi. The group claims to be the local leader in Europe in sales of electrified vehicles, and the global leader in plug-in hybrids. It is also the only volume automobile manufacturer to concentrate exclusively on the premium passenger car sector (although it also keeps a toehold in premium motorcycles as well with BMW Motorrad). This concentration has allowed performance to soar, largely unencumbered by the continuing drag effect of the struggling European mass-market automobile sector. Volume sales have hit new highs every year since 2011, coming in at 2.54m vehicles in 2019, including almost 2.2m for the main BMW brand. However, that figure remains below Mercedes-Benz. BMW originally overtook its arch-rival in global sales in 2005, but the older brand fought back successfully, moving back into pole position in 2016 and retaining it ever since. China is now BMW Group's single biggest market for unit sales, accounting for 29% of deliveries: more than the next two biggest markets - the US and Germany - combined. The X SUV series, now seven models strong, accounts for 44% of all units sold; however the individual top-selling models remain the 3 series and 5 series sedans at 359k and 353k units respectively. Volume sales of motorcycles hit a new high in 2019 of 175k units, as did unit sales of Rolls Royce which exceeded 5,000 cars for the first time. Group revenues topped €100bn for the first time that year at €104.2bn, though net profit was at a five -year low of €5.0bn. Oliver Zipse, previously head of production, succeeded Harald Krueger as executive chairman in 2019. Though publicly quoted, BMW Group is still 47% controlled by Stefan Quandt and his sister Susanne Klatten. They are the children of the industrialist Herbert Quandt, who rescued the business from near-collapse in 1960. The Quandt family are Germany's richest with a combined estimated wealth of almost $41bn.
Capsule checked 3rd September 2020
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Historical profile information for BMW Group
Adbrands Daily Update 9th Sep 2020: BMW is to consolidate its advertising across Europe for both the main BMW brand and Mini with Serviceplan, already its partner in several markets including Germany, and S4 Capital's Mediamonks production network. They will be supported by consulting agency Berylls under the shared banner of "The Engine". That partnership will replace third-party agencies in all other markets - for example FCB in several countries including the UK and Russia, SCPF in Spain and 180 Kingsday and TBWA in Netherlands, Belgium and other markets. It's not yet clear where this leaves Anomaly Berlin, which was awarded the global account for Mini earlier this year.
Adbrands Daily Update 20th Dec 2019: Just a few weeks after pooling their mobility services under the Share Now banner, Daimler and BMW announced plans to suspend operations of car-sharing services Car2Go and Drive Now throughout North America, as well as in London, Brussels and Florence. Share Now blamed the pullout on "rising infrastructure complexities" in North America and low adoption rates in those three European cities. The service will continue in 18 other European cities.
Adbrands Daily Update 12th Nov 2019: German car giants Daimler and BMW unveiled the first fruits of their previously agreed mobility joint venture. Share Now will gradually absorb their two existing car-share ventures, Daimler's Car2Go and BMW's Drive Now. Together these currently serve around 4m customers in 31 cities in continental Europe and North America. The current brands will be phased out in favour of Share Now, and a series of other similar ventures will follow. Reach Now will absorb the Moovel service which allows customers to book public transport tickets; Free Now is the venture's Uber competitor, absorbing the currently separate MyTaxi, Chauffeur Privé, Clever Taxi and Beat; Park Now offers smartphone-operated ticketless parking services in more than 1,100 cities under the Parkmobile or Park Now brands.
Adbrands Daily Update 2nd Oct 2019: "The Small Escape". November marks the 30th anniversary of the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, and a number of German advertisers are planning to celebrate that milestone. BMW gets in early with this fine cinematic-style drama from Jung von Matt (surely earning themselves some extra points towards the carmaker's new account review). It's odd to think now that BMW ever made bubble cars like the tiny Isetta, originally licensed from an Italian manufacturer rather than built in-house. Few post-war German families could afford a real car, so bubble cars like this, built around a motorcycle engine, were really the only affordable solution. And this is actually a true story about Klaus-Gunter Jacobi - now a guide at the Berlin Wall Museum - who helped several friends escape from East Germany in his modified car.
Adbrands Daily Update 26th Sep 2019: As had been anticipated for several months, BMW's marketing chief Jens Thiemer launched what could end up as a root-and-branch review of the carmaker's marketing roster. The review will commence in Europe, according to German trade source HorizonT, but then roll out globally. BMW currently works with several different local partners across the region. Serviceplan and Jung von Matt are the main incumbents in Germany and some other countries, but BMW also works with multiple other agencies including FCB and TBWA. At his previous employer Mercedes-Benz, Thiemer was responsible for allocating lead status to newly created German agency Antoni with regional support from a dedicated Publicis entity. Thiemer is being advised by consultancy KPMG and also the former Ogilvy Germany and Jung von Matt leader Thomas Strerath.
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