GA Trade Mar-Apr interactive - page 22

GAT:
Prior to your transition to
the Americas you served as the
Managing Director of BMW Plant
Leipzig, Germany. What are the
differences between the two mar-
kets? What are similar challenges?
Manfred Erlacher (ME):
BMW
has a global production network. For
the most part, each plant is struc-
tured in very similar ways and we
share best practices. Each plant is
completely committed to being the
best in quality, safety, and efficiency.
In the end, each plant director works
diligently to ensure their plant is on
top, however true success is not what
we think about our success, it’s what
others see in us. I want everyone to
know that Spartanburg is a bench-
mark plant. I believe that it’s a plant
where the BMW Group can learn
new ideas. That’s the kind of success
I want.
GAT:
What role does the North
American market play for BMW?
What are your objectives and
most innovative product launches
in 2014?
ME:
North America continues to be
a very important market for BMW.
2013 was the best year ever for the
BMW Group in the United States.
With more than 376,000 BMW and
MINI vehicles sold in the U.S., BMW
set a new all-time sales record.
About 30 percent of the BMW’s
produced in Spartanburg are sold in
the U.S. This year, the plant in
Spartanburg will add the all new
BMW X4 to its model strategy. This
furthers our plant’s X-model
competence, adds additional jobs and
production volume. By the end of
2014, BMW Manufacturing will
increase its annual production capac-
ity to the highest ever, 350,000 units.
GAT:
How does the Spartan-
burg Plant impact regional develop-
ment and economic growth in
South Carolina? In your opinion,
can manufacturers shape a region
in the long term?
ME:
Since 1992, the BMW Group
has invested $6.4 billion in its South
Carolina operation. In 2014, the
company will also celebrate 20 years
of producing cars in the United
States. I believe this is an extraordi-
nary testament to the proficiency
and competitiveness of the region.
With skilled labor, ideal infrastruc-
ture, state-of-the-art research and
development, as well as exceptional
training capabilities, I have been
deeply impressed by the presence of
manufacturing competency in South
Carolina. It makes perfect sense that
manufacturers like Michelin, General
Electric, Continental and Boeing join
BMW in having a significant
presence in the state.
W E L C O M E T O T H E C - S U I T E
Interview with
Manfred Erlacher
President and Chief Executive Officer,
BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC
WELCOME
TO THE
C
Introducing New C-Level Executives to the
German-American Business Community
-SUITE
22
German American Trade Mar/Apr 2014
Manfred Erlacher, President and CEO,
BMW Manufacturing in Spartanburg, SC
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