We were afforded the opportunity to speak with Franz Jung at the Canadian International Auto Show 2010. As the President and C.E.O., Franz is responsible for BMW Canada and its future direction. After spending time together out of his busy schedule, it became clear that Franz is the right person for the job.
His great sense of humor, friendly demeanor and flawless professionalism made our interview a lot of fun – it was over too soon! Franz gave us insight into many aspects of the Canadian market, including some juicy bits around BMW’s ///M products in the great North. One statistic in particular will make Canadian BMW drivers very proud.
Without any further ado, here is our exclusive interview with Franz Jung from Toronto.
BMWBLOG: What differentiates the Canadian market from other markets for BMW?
Franz Jung: Well, I myself, I have been working in 5 different markets for BMW already, and one thing is certain, that all markets are different. So you cannot say that this market is shaped like that market. All markets are different. What makes Canada so special is that we have all the different markets within Canada. Of course that goes with the size of the country. So if you go to Vancouver and if you analyze that market with Toronto or with Montreal you’ll probably find three different directions and tastes. We try to match as much as possible with our products, and so far so good, we are leading the premium segment.
BMWBLOG: What are BMW Canada’s goals for the future?
Franz Jung: We are now growing here for 19 years in a row, and for 7 consecutive years we are leading the premium segment. So the number one goal must be to maintain that function and that position. The second goal is to bring new technologies into this market as fast as possible, as early as they’re available. Like diesel engines – high performance diesel engines with low fuel consumption. Electric cars when they are coming, etc, etc.
BMWBLOG: Canadian roads are some of the curviest in the world, what BMW product would you best recommend for carving these serpentine roads?
Franz Jung: Oh… actually, you can do very fast curves with the 7 series, but if you really want to have fun, probably the M3 would be the right answer to that. It’s a compact sedan, 3 series coupe or sedan, which is actually… it’s a racecar.
BMWBLOG: What do you currently drive?
Franz Jung: I have a 750i xDrive.
BMWBLOG: Are there any BMW products unique to Canada?
Franz Jung: We do have the BMW X3 2.8 liter, which is not available in North America but Canada. That makes us very proud because Canadians like that car. It’s the fastest growing segment and that’s why it was actually the right answer to the competition last year. And then we also have the 3 series in this market, the 323i, which also is not available in the United States, but here. So there are actually more cars available in Canada than in the United States, good for your blog.
BMWBLOG: So the new X1 will probably be a hit?
Franz Jung: No doubt it’s going to be a hit, introduced early next year.
BMWBLOG: Can our Canadian readers expect to see more BMW Diesel products in the future?
Franz Jung: Diesel has a trend, a strong trend. Our task is to explain to Canadians that a diesel is not a diesel. There are so many different ways of doing diesel engines, and we believe that we do have the best answer to that. Especially when it comes for example to the 335’s diesel, the engine has won a lot of awards all around the world. It’s seen as the best diesel engine in that segment. Our goal is to present diesels that are stronger and more precise that will be successful in Canada.
BMWBLOG: How would you propose to convince Canadians of the enjoyable drive a diesel can offer?
Franz Jung: Well, go to the dealer, ask for a test drive – and drive.
BMWBLOG: In a country where cities are spread far apart, drivers travel greater distances. Which Efficient Dynamics technology (among Hybrid, Electric, Diesel or Hydrogen drive) would best suit our Canadian landscape now and in the future?
Franz Jung: This is a little bit of a difficult question. We believe that a combination of a hybrid electric and a diesel engine would be the best answer to that. You have low fuel consumption and low CO2 emissions in cities and you can use them over a longer distance than other alternatives. So a combination, a package – I would recommend a package.
BMWBLOG: Very much like the Vision package?
Franz Jung: Yes, exactly like that.
BMWBLOG: Tell us more about BMW Canada’s new headquarters in Richmond Hill.
Franz Jung: Well, for me it’s good because it’s closer to my house [laughs]. The new offices, they fit perfectly well to our needs. We have new offices in a “green building” filling all the standards you have for green technology in terms of construction. We have three floors and we are together with our friends from financial services. We move in next month and all will be good.
BMWBLOG: What racing involvement does BMW have in Canada?
Franz Jung: Well, we do have Mini involvement in the Targa Newfoundland. Then we have some private drivers, they drive some private races. In motorcycle racing, we are active with the Canadian Thunder series and in Canadian Enduro racing. Also, the M3 races in the ALMS at Mosport.
BMWBLOG: How can BMW driver training benefit the Canadian driver?
Franz Jung: It will make better drivers, perhaps drivers that are a little bit more proactive. The winter driver training which is running right now in Montreal is a great thing for Canada, because it shows responsibility.
BMWBLOG: Especially when you offer a very powerful rear wheel drive car?
Franz Jung: Yes, it’s a reasonable part of our activity and it’s also a way to build loyalty with our customers and gain new customers.
BMWBLOG: How passionate are Canadians about ///M cars?
Franz Jung: Per capita, Canada is the world’s largest M market. If you drive an M car, no matter if it’s an M3 an M6 or an X6M or X5M it’s a head shaker. It’s the sound, it’s the muscles, it’s the power, it’s the exclusiveness, it’s that package that Canadians, they just jump on.
BMWBLOG: We are privileged to live where we live with gorgeous roads. With that in mind, can we look forward to the M3 GTS making it to Canadian shores?
Franz Jung: Well, I’m not negative, but I need to be careful what I say. What I do know is that we have some other, maybe surprise M models in the pipeline that I’m not able to talk about right now. But maybe coming soon to the Canadian market, and they will be a lot of fun.
BMWBLOG: And Canadians can look forward to that?
Franz Jung: And they can look forward to that!
We would like to extend our sincere thanks to BMW Canada for providing us with this interesting and informative interview.
[Photos credit: Shawn Molnar ]