BUSINESS

BMW vows to expand R&D center, partnerships with Korean firms

By Kim Da-sol
  • Published : Nov 27, 2019 - 15:04
  • Updated : Nov 27, 2019 - 15:04

YEONGJONGDO, Incheon -- BMW Group Korea said Tuesday it will expand its research and development center in South Korea and increase its partnerships with local firms.

BMW Finance board member Nicolas Peter told reporters that the German carmaker plans to strengthen its R&D center here by relocating and hiring 13 additional employees to have 29 staff in total.

But the company did not clarify the exact scale or funding for the expansion.

“We will invest in a new location for our R&D Center with more space and create additional jobs. It will be operational in around a year’s time,” said Peter, adding that the expanded facility will include extended test facilities for product development, tests and validation activities. 

From left: BMW Group Korea CEO Han Sang-yun, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG Customer, Brands, Sales Pieter Nota, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG Finance Dr. Nicolas Peter and Head of Corporate Communications Asia Pacific, Africa and Importer Markets Adam Sykes answer reporters’s questions during a press conference held at BMW Group Korea’s Driving Experience Center in Yeongjongdo, Incheon, Wednesday. (BMW Group Korea)

“We recognize Korea as one of the world’s powerhouses of high-end technology. It represents innovative thinking, technological progress and tremendous openness to new developments.” 

He also said the company will intensify partnerships with local firms to leverage the expertise and talent here.

The company recently signed a contract with SK Telecom for next-generation navigation services -- which will be launched in 2022 -- pointing to telecom firm’s insights in developing specific solutions that are tailored to the local traffic situation. 

SKT already provides online POI data and real-time traffic information for BMW vehicles here.

“Our goal is to offer a connected driving experience in Korea with localized applications. And our vision is to serve customer needs by incorporating domestic digital eco-systems,” he added.

The automaker also announced the introduction of the Mini Electric in Korea, hinting at its efforts to bring new electric vehicle models here, including BEVs and PHEVs. 

“BMW Group has ambitious goals when it comes to its EV portfolio. By 2023, we will have 25 EV models,” Peter said, adding that more than half of those will be fully electric. 

With regard to regaining public trust following a series of incidents involving BMW car engines catching fire, he said the company will continue to satisfy Korean customers by introducing new models, expansion of the Driving Experience Center in Yeongjongdo and bolstering corporate social responsibility activities.

“It goes without saying that our customers’ well-being and their trust, is as always, our top priority,” said Pieter Nota, board member of BMW Customer, Brands, Sales.

“We have been delivering on our promise to invest more and expand our local efforts in Korea. The broad ties between the BMW Group and Korea are significant and are deepening,” he added.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)


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