What’s the “secret sauce,” of what a BMW is?

Interesting | April 19th, 2010 by 5
BMW Roundel in focus 1600x12001 750x500

This same very question was asked on Friday by the folks over at AutoFieldBlog. Jack Pitney, vice president of Marketing at BMW of North America, …

This same very question was asked on Friday by the folks over at AutoFieldBlog. Jack Pitney, vice president of Marketing at BMW of North America, answered this question:


It is about understanding what a BMW is. “We are a company driven by engineers,” Pitney said. And as such, they are focused on improving their products when they produce a new one or improve an existing one such that there is not necessarily a “hit” in the market—which can sometimes be nothing more than a flash-in-the-pan—but a product that has a gradually building curve that is sustainable. A case of this improvement is the 2011 528i sedan, which with a base price of $45,425 (including $875 destination and handling) is $1,400 less than the 2010 model, despite the fact that there are measurable improvements, such its 3.0-liter inline six producing 240 hp and 230 lb-ft of torque, which are improvements of 10 and 30, respectively. One key way of reducing costs while improving the product: engineering the 7 Series and the 5 Series together such that there is a sharing of approximately 70% of the components.

BMW Roundel in focus 1600x12001 655x435


Pitney said this is “mindset and reality.” Yes, it is a standalone company. And while it has MINI and Rolls-Royce under its umbrella, BMW has a cadre of people who are focused on BMW. He said that the independence gives them “great flexibility to do things, like making the investment in the Spartanburg [South Carolina] plant.” Opened in 1994, the plant was the first non-domestic luxury brand to build a plant in the U.S.


They’re interested in growth, but they’re not, he stated, interested in some sort of market homogeneity: “We don’t want to be for everyone.” Pitney explained that it is about picking their spots within the market, not trying to cover it. “We won’t have a pickup truck,” he joked. Yet they will have electric vehicles, including the forthcoming ActiveE and the MegaCity, with the former coming next year and the latter by “mid-decade.” He insisted of these cars, like any with the roundel on the front, “In the end, they all drive like BMWs.”

5 responses to “What’s the “secret sauce,” of what a BMW is?”

  1. bob says:

    *Independence*. Too little has been written about the importance of independence to BMW; it goes to the soul of the company; and, its value, to BMW, cannot be underestimated.

  2. CoCo says:

    Yes, independence plays a very important role. The possibility of almost being swallowed by Daimler back in 1959 meant BMW fierecely guard it’s independence which in turns mean it strives really hard to make great cars in order to protect this independece.

  3. Chanter says:

    No one has mentioned “customer loyalty”. BMW would’nt be where it is today without a dedicated fanbase. I hope BMW remembers that.

  4. jkp says:

    “We won’t have a pickup truck.”

    Yeeaahhh…..but aren’t all the X-series classed as ‘light-duty trucks’ for CAFE purposes…?

  5. Charlie Crocker says:

    Yeah thats right BMW, independence – stand alone from everyone and giving great flexibility to create more ugly ducklings. Judging from all the negative feedback generated on current designs i am not suprised that BMW hallmark has been tarnished. “We don’t want to be for everyone.” BMW going schizo again and trying hard to stay off drugs.

    they may all drive like bmws but they don’t look like BMWs

    Keep up the good work BMW

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