TWO NEW CREATIVE BMW GROUP SATELLITES IN SHANGHAI: NEW STUDIO OF DESIGNWORKSUSA AND CONNECTED DRIVE LAB
Munich/Shanghai, April 20th, 2012. Fully recognizing China’s tremendous significance as a driver for creativity, the BMW Group opens a Designworks studio and a Connected Drive Lab in Shanghai. Both innovation centers will reside under the same roof in Shanghai’s Huangpu District, former French Concession. The strategic location in one of the fastest growing cities in the world and the vibrant, forward-thinking character of this commercial and financial centre were key drivers to locating there.
BMW Group DesignworksUSA: Shaping global perspectives.
The new design studio will bring the invaluable insights from the Chinese market to further inform DesignworksUSA’s global perspective, provide entry into the Asian market for its European and North American clients, and bring new international client partnerships and opportunities to the region. DesignworksUSA, the California-based design and creative consultancy with studios in North America, Europe and Asia is an inspirational think tank for the BMW Group brands (BMW, BMW i, MINI and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars) and an innovation driver for renowned clients from the most diverse industries. From initial concept to realization, the DesignworksUSA team of creative talents uses cross-fertilization to compose a unique expression for successful products of tomorrow and beyond. Noteworthy projects demonstrating DesignworksUSA’s breadth and expertise include: Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Trains, Embraer Legacy Jet, NeilPryde Bikes, Sennheiser Earphones, Intermarine 55 Yacht, HP Z800 Workstation, Thermaltake Gaming Station, Varian Medical Systems and Siemens Trains.
“Our new studio in Shanghai places DesignworksUSA at the epicenter of the most rapidly growing and influential consumer market in the world and provides an indispensible resource for shaping our global perspectives for clients”, says Laurenz Schaffer, President of BMW Group DesignworksUSA. “As innovators, there’s tremendous insight for DesignworksUSA to gain in China, and likewise great opportunity to contribute to the evolution of this vibrant culture”, Schaffer continues.
“Creating this foothold for both BMW Group Design and DesignworksUSA in Shanghai is of great importance from both strategic and creative standpoints”, says Adrian van Hooydonk, Director BMW Group Design. “China’s importance from a business perspective to BMW Group is clear, its power to inspire our designers is equally vital.”
With more than fifty percent of the world’s population in Asia, the tremendous growth of Asian markets is expected to heavily influence future global markets. China is the largest present growth market and third largest single market worldwide for the BMW Group, the parent company of DesignworksUSA. The BMW Group has been building BMW 3 Series and BMW 5 Series models at its plant in Shenyang, China, with its joint venture partner Brilliance since 2003. A second production plant in Tiexi in the Shenyang region will be completed in 2012 where the BMW X1 will also be built in the future.
An emerging center for design and trends, Shanghai is strategically located in mainland China and is one of the most important centers of Asia. In addition to an evolving marketplace, Shanghai is experiencing exponential growth and new consumer buying trends. The DesignworksUSA Shanghai Studio will perform functions including product, transportation, automotive, environmental and interaction design; color, material and finish design; design communication, research and strategy; sustainability consulting. Its staff will consist of a balance between designers from the region and those from DesignworksUSA’s studios in Los Angeles, Munich and Singapore.
DesignworksUSA and Connected Drive Lab under one roof: The perfect foundation for creative convergence of design and technology.
Along with the opening of the Shanghai design studio, BMW Group opens another global development center in addition to Munich and Mountain View/California. The new Lab is dedicated to advanced ConnectedDrive functions in the areas of convenience, infotainment and safety especially for Chinese customers. At the Beijing Motor Show one of the latest developments the option “Apps” is being launched in China: With Apps you can browse your favorite social networks such as SinaWeibo and Kaixin in your BMW or MINI. The Apps option is a future proof platform, offering seamless integration of new functions into the existing iDrive Infotainment System, such as Baidu ting, with short time to market.
In addition to the market-leading offerings for BMW and MINI Connected, further innovative Software and Electronics functions are created in China. Asia-specific User Interface Concepts and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (e.g. traffic sign recognition) are developed on location by an intercultural, predominantly Chinese team. Moreover, it allows strategic initiatives such as the development of an open source infotainment platform as part of GENIVI to be directly linked to the Asian markets. The developers are working in close cooperation with the heart of the BMW Group development at Munich’s Research and Innovation Centre.
“It’s exciting to lead a young, interdisciplinary team in China as part of a global development network”, says Alexis Trolin, Head of BMW Group ConnectedDrive Lab China. “As a megacity, Shanghai is a significant global location for innovations and trends. It’s a city where groundbreaking impulses are generated for design, mobility and the key technologies of the future. After short ramp up phase, our team of 25 highly qualified and motivated developers, User Interface Concept designers and software experts, we are launching the first innovative functions designed by Chinese engineers especially for Chinese Customers.”