33 years of BMW in South-East Asia
Today we are at the head office of BMW Group Asia, located in Harbourfront Avenue, Singapore, in the prestigious Keppel Bay Towers, with a view over Sentosa Island. We’re talking to Ms. Preeti Gupta, Director of Corporate Affairs, and Mr. Remmy Ng, Regional Manager Corporate, Direct & Special Sales BMW Asia.
Preeti starts by telling us a bit more about the activities of the Singapore office. “This is the regional office overseeing 13 markets across East Asia – Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Tahiti, Guam, New Caledonia, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, for both BMW and MINI brands. We play the role of a business incubator for the importer markets. We help our partners introduce products and technologies that best cater to our customers’ needs in this part of the world. BMW Group Asia is also a regional hub for strategic corporate functions like the BMW Group Treasury Centre and Information Management Services that support the BMW Group across the Asia Pacific region.”
The Corporate Customer
“We work with mainly multinational corporations,” says Preeti. “Obviously, there’s a strong emphasis on those customers who have signed international sales agreements, such as Shell, but we’re equally focusing on large local companies, such as DBS (editor’s note – one of Singapore’s leading financial services groups). We’re also beginning to work with local SMEs and how we can incorporate BMW models into their corporate fleets.”
Remmy takes over: “Next to Singapore, we also see a growing potential in other key corporate markets, such as Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. BMW has a strong commitment to develop in these key markets and is investing in resources to ensure our footprint.”
“One of our strengths,” continues Remmy, “is our understanding of the market. Fleet Managers ask us for advice about leasing, purchase and mobility – we can offer advice and tailor our fleet solutions to the clients’ mobility requirements. In addition, we’re here to act as a central point of contact for the corporate client. When the client is looking for local solutions, we will coordinate and make sure the client receives help from our local colleagues.”
BMW has globally delivered 100.000 Electric and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles in 2017 alone and is forecasting a sales of 500.000 units by 2019. The electric family is also expanding: 25 electrified models are to be expected by 2025 – good for 15% to 25% of global sales. BMW has developed a unique production process that will allow them to build models with a combustion engine, plug-in hybrid or fully electric drive train at the same time, in function of customer demand.
Preeti recognises that BMW is transforming from a carmaker into a mobility technology provider. Remmy adds: “From a practical point of view, it is important to note that some of the new mobility solutions might not be available and/or readily accepted in the markets. Our advice is for global fleet manager to work with their regional/local counterpart to find a balanced fleet solution for the market.”
“Expansion of mobility services is an important pillar of our corporate strategy,” says Preeti. “This is how BMW will reach out to new customer groups and leverage earnings potential for the BMW Group.” BMW has already reached over 1 million users worldwide with the NOW line-up. Preeti walks us through the different solutions:
- DriveNow is the premium carsharing service operated by the BMW Group that was introduced to the market in 2011.
- ParkNow was launched as a pilot project in San Francisco back in 2012. In early 2015, we announced ParkNow’s acquisition of a stake (20%) in Parkmobile. Parkmobile Europe is the world’s largest supplier of onstreet parking solutions in Europe and is currently the market leader with its own brands in the Netherlands and the UK. In 2016, the BMW Group acquired 100% of the Parkmobile Group Europe.
- ChargeNow (easy access to a network of public charging stations) was introduced into the market in parallel with the launch of the BMW i3 as an enabler for electromobility.
- In April 2016, ReachNow, the fourth mobility service from the NOW family, was launched in Seattle, USA. Based on the successful DriveNow model, BMW and MINI offer spontaneous rental options and pilot additional ondemand mobility services in Seattle.
Preeti continues: “Brand image is important. We like to work together with our partners in Singapore and other markets to support various organizations with BMW fleets. BMW has been the fleet partner for numerous key events for the region, such as the Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the International Maritime Defence Exhibition. On a lighter note, we have also supported the Singapore Fashion Week, the SMBC Singapore Open 2017 Golf Tournament and many more.”Conclusion
Both Preeti and Remmy are confident about BMW’s potential in the region. The BMW and MINI brands offers models and versions today that cater for a larger corporate public than only the CEO.