Chancellor, Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen

Thank you very much for joining us at today's press conference. I am very happy to be in the UK on this first business trip abroad as the new Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.

Delivering a speech here in the UK is something very special to me as this is the only country in the world where the BMW Group has production sites for all our premium brands: BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce. Two of them are of British origin - Rolls-Royce Motor Cars at Goodwood, and MINI here at Oxford. Both brands have a rich heritage, and we have a strong sense of commitment and pride for them.

And we are successful in the UK - not only in terms of production, but also in sales:

I will focus on three key messages:

Ladies and Gentlemen -

First about the role of the BMW Group as a partner for the UK economy. I am very pleased that the Chancellor is here today. We were both here for the start of production event for the MINI in 2001. I assume you want to have a look at how we spent the money we invested here. I can assure you: we spent it in the right way!

When you became Chancellor in 1997, you announced your goal to develop an economy that would encourage investment in the UK, higher productivity and exports.

According to an independent economic impact study, the BMW Group's operations contribute significantly to the British economy:

My second message today is the success story of MINI. In July 2001, we introduced the first and still the only premium vehicle in the small car segment. The car incorporates the heritage of the brand. At the same time, it stands for a premium product substance, safety features, and the typical go cart feeling.

The MINI has been a great success for the BMW Group from the very beginning. I remember third party estimations of 100,000 cars per year - 100,000: this is exactly the volume we sold in the first half of 2006.

MINI is among the few cars that have not shown any decrease in orders even in the sixth year of production. Today, one out of seven vehicles delivered by the BMW Group is a MINI. We want to continue and, of course, increase the success of MINI with its successor. With the new model, we are presenting a thoroughly redesigned power train and a completely new engine. The MINI Cooper is powered by a 1.6 litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 120 horsepower, and the MINI Cooper S by a 1.6-litre turbo engine with 175 horsepower - both built at Hams Hall. We had to meet the enormous demand for MINI by increasing our production capacity and optimising our efficiency.

And this leads me to my third topic: We have set up a MINI Production Triangle.

Let me compile the facts about the new MINI Production Triangle:

Our purchasing strategy for MINI has resulted in substantial benefits for the UK economy by sourcing key, large-scale components - known as modules - from within the UK.

We are often asked: Why is the BMW Group so successful - worldwide as well as here in the UK? Why do we succeed in operating profitably here? It is our policy not to comment on competitor's business plans or on their operations. I'd rather point out our own strengths:

And one of our key strengths is our highly committed and flexible workforce: business is people.

Ladies and Gentlemen - in conclusion

Ladies and Gentlemen - Thank you for listening.


Published : 14/09/06 Author : Melanie Carter

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