Hildegard Wortmann is now the Senior Vice President of the BMW Brand, after working for the company for 18 years. Wortmann started at BMW in 1998 and has been with the Bavarian automaker ever since, so she knows a thing or two about its history and the direction it should take. Which makes her the perfect person for the job. Auto Motor und Sport recently spoke with Wortmann about electric cars, autonomous driving and the direction of BMW. (The interview was in German, so we apologize for any confusion in the translation)
Wortmann was asked about taking over for BMW during such a trying time for the auto industry, with the entire automotive landscape shifting toward electric mobility. “For me it is clear that the next ten years will change more than in the 30 years before. But I see change as a great opportunity, because as a company, we are strategically positioned for this. We are leaders in many areas such as electric mobility, networking, mobility services or on the road to autonomous driving, and digitization is only an over-arching catchword, which is already being implemented in all areas at BMW. My job is to “digitize” the BMW brand so that it is still perceived as authentic but also up-to-date and
As much as Wortmann is a car enthusiast at heart, falling in love with the brand thanks to her E36 BMW 316i, she understands that the future of BMW must include electric mobility to meet CO2 standards. “In the case of combustion engines, since the introduction of Efficient Dynamics in 2007, we have made tremendous progress and are continuing to work intensively. However, future targets can not be achieved without electromobility.” But you can trust that she knows great cars, as her favorite car is the BMW Z8, which is an exercise in pure automotive beauty.
However, she realizes that, despite wanting great drivers cars, autonomous cars will be important as well. “Autonomous driving is not a technology that will only be launched in ten years. We are already on our way today.” said Wortmann. There’s also the need to advance the technology before it becomes mainstream. “There are some areas where we work intensively, partly with partners such as Intel or Mobileye. Realistically, we see the date when we go in series with the BMW iNext in 2021.”
Wortmann also spoke on bringing more women into the automotive world. As we know, this business is pretty male dominated at the moment and Wortmann wants to encourage women to work in this field but not just for the sake of hiring women. She also wants to provide mothers the ability to have their career as well as their families. “Of course I want to promote women, but not in the sense of a quota. It is important for me to encourage young women to continue caring for [car brands]. To this end, we must show them how exciting the tasks are and how BMW can shape the future. And I would like to give the mothers in my team, which sometimes also leadership positions, the greatest possible flexibility in order to be able to arrange the family and the job in a timely manner. I think that there can be nothing worse for a woman than to be a “quota woman”. I myself have a network of business women, but here is not the woman’s being, but the professional exchange in the foreground.”
Hildegard Wortmann is a huge part of BMW and its future and she’s the right person for the job. She understands the brand’s values, appreciates its history and realizes where it must go in the future.[Source: Auto Motor und Sport]