Marhc 7, 1916 is the day BMW was officially founded as Bayerische Flugzeug Werke. That day was exactly 100 years ago today. To honor this milestone, BMW had organized a large anniversary show in the Olympic Park in its hometown Munich. Factory workers had a day off. Although sales are still going up, it remains a mystery what the future holds for the German brand.
Today was no ordinary day for anyone who works at BMW. The carmaker had organized something special for all its stakeholders. A show, attended by 2 thousand people – among whom are shareholders, politicians, dealers, and other prominent people – was held a the Olympic Park in Munich. But the 30,000 employees weren’t left out. They could follow the festivities and party along in the Allianz Arena, Bayern Munich’s football stadium. Even BMW’s rival Mercedes-Benz had sent a gift: a weeklong free pass to the Mercedes-Benz Museum, so that employees ‘can learn all about the car industry’. This is to remind BMW that Mercedes-Benz was already in business for over a quarter of a century before BMW had even built its first car (in 1928).
But today is not all about reminiscing. It is also about looking into the future, and trying to predict what’s in store for the carmaker from Munich. Sales keep on increasing for BMW every year, making it still the dominating brand in the luxury segment, before Audi and Mercedes-Benz. But is the brand prepared to face the changes in the market? The i8 and smaller i3 and the handful of hybrid versions of standard models offer hardly enough to meet the growing demand in the market. And even though the idea of new forms of mobility as presented by Apple and Google – not to mention Uber taking a shot – will pose challenging threats to the manufacturer that has always stayed ahead of the competition. So even though there is a reason to party today, there is also enough reason to start thinking about the future.