|BMW Korea CEO Kim Hyo-joon poses with children in front of the specially designed Junior Campus truck at a COEX exhibition hall in southern Seoul on Thursday. (BMW Korea)|
The Junior Campus program will start next month, benchmarking one of the programs of BMW Group’s Welt, a multi-functional customer experience and exhibition facility in Munich.
BMW Korea Future Fund, the first social contribution organization set up by a foreign carmaker here, will be responsible for operating the program. It is the first time the BMW program will be carried out in another market, according to officials.
The 80-hour program consists of two parts ― laboratory and workshop ― and covers science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.
Participating children are to learn scientific principles and concepts based on automotive technologies in shock absorbers, transmissions and crankshafts.
And then they are guided to design and make cars for themselves using environment-friendly materials. The results are shared with other participants via individual presentation.
Even though most content is based on the original German program, one distinctive feature of the Korean program is its mobility.
Prioritizing underprivileged children living in suburban areas, hospitals or welfare facilities, BMW Korea has transformed a 11.5-ton truck into a mobile campus that will travel across the nation.
“We will visit children directly with the best program. Of the total 800 million won ($737,000) budget for the program, some 600 million was spent on the truck. We could increase the number of vehicles considering children’s reaction,” said BMW Korea CEO Kim Hyo-joon.
Some 10,000 children are expected to have an opportunity join the program every year. The company also plans to create an alumni group to continue supporting their education and networking.
“Ultimately, people are the most important (type of) competitiveness. We need to build infrastructure to help individuals develop their talent. BMW Korea will continue such efforts,” Kim said.
BMW Korea Future Fund was launched in July last year for the carmaker to conduct social contribution activities more effectively as well as celebrating its 16th anniversary.
Part of the funds are raised by BMW Korea, dealers and BMW and Mini buyers.
Customers can choose to donate 30,000 won when they purchase BMW or Mini vehicles. For the purchase, the company donates an additional 90,000 won.
Some 60 percent of BMW customers participate in the donation program. This year the total collected funds are expected to hit 2.4 billion won, the company said.
BMW has been the best-selling import car brand for three consecutive years in Korea. In the first 10 months this year, the Korean unit sold 24,213 vehicles, up 17.7 percent from last year’s 20,565.
By Lee Ji-yoon (email@example.com)