Quandt family, BMW’s largest shareholder owns 46% controlling stake and it is very involved in the day-to-day operation through Suzanne Quandt. In a recent statement, Quandt family, through Stefan Quandt (17.4 percent stake in the company), vowed to carry on its commitment to the carmaker as Audi challenges BMW’s lead in luxury vehicles.
In a press release issued by BMW, Stefan Quandt said at a Munich event this week to mark the 50th anniversary of the shareholders’ vote approving the German family’s rescue of the luxury-car maker: “We as a family are looking forward” to shaping the future with BMW. Lead, don’t follow – that’s the entrepreneurial calling of BMW.”
Investor Herbert Quandt fended off a takeover attempt five decades ago by Daimler AG, by bankrolling development of the 1500-model midsize sedan. After rejecting Daimler-Benz’s takeover bid for BMW in 1959 and adopting the rescue plan in November 1960, BMW went on to become an almost unprecedented success story.
BMW surpassed Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz division as the world’s largest luxury-car maker five years ago and aims to almost double annual sales by 2020 to 2 million vehicles.
The most recent concerns come from Ingolstadt with Audi’s daring plans to become the largest premium automaker by 2015.
Bloomberg quotes Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany: “Volkswagen will at some point have benchmark costs and BMW has to ask itself whether it can face this challenge on its own. BMW will have to consider whether it will accept cross shareholdings to secure long-term strategic partnerships.”
BMW is currently working with PSA Peugeot Citroen on hybrid-drive components and four-cylinder engines for the MINI brand. In the US, BMW and SGL Carbon partnered up to build a carbon fiber plant for the upcoming Megacity vehicles.
Same Bloomberg reports that “the Quandt family’s backing allowed Chief Executive Officer Norbert Reithofer to lay out a strategy to achieve the 2 million delivery goal for 2020, he said. Reithofer has also had the freedom to break with tradition, including developing front- wheel-drive vehicles and exiting the Formula One racing.”
As mentioned earlier, the top spot is being challenged by Audi who is targeting record sales this year of more than 1 million cars and SUVs sold.
BMW projects 10 percent sales growth to 1.4 million vehicles, its third-highest annual delivery figure.
With the launch of their electric vehicles sub-brand and future front-wheel drive vehicles, BMW plans to continue its growth and conquer new markets and customers.