As you approach the glass and metal complex sparkling in the sun and twisting up into the sky, BMW’s Welt is truly a sight to behold. But what about the view from within? BMWBLOG has gained exclusive access to the ‘belly of the beast’ to discover the inner workings of this grand operation we know as the Welt. For the first time since its construction the depths of the Welt have been opened up to journalists – and BMWBLOG was the automotive authority present to capture the experience. Join us as we explore every corner and crevice of BMW’s ultimate delivery center.
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Ground broke for this super complex in the summer of 2003, and construction continued until late 2007. What slowly rose to the sky had the citizens of Munich gasping, and plenty of jaws drop to this day as thousands of people visit the Welt every year. BMW Welt translates ‘BMW World’ – and that is an accurate name for this mega hub of all things BMW. Walking through the front doors you enter an expansive space showcasing current BMW cars and motorcycles alongside a few classic cars including the famed BMW Isetta. Everything around you speaks of art and design and as you continue walking, the atrium opens up with metal beams and sheets of glass twisting and swirling around you. Beyond the impressive architecture, the Welt is a showcase of BMW’s operational efficiency. It is the crown jewel of the brand.
Those fortunate enough to be taking delivery of their new BMW will appreciate the special treatment they enjoy as they are guided through the Welt’s delivery process, and those who visit the Welt in interest will have plenty to see, but today we take you into an underworld not seen before.
With thousands of cars delivered from the Welt every month, one has to wonder exactly how this is achieved. Obviously cars do not grow on trees around the Welt, so how do they plop onto their rotating platforms in such quick succession, ready for another wide-eyed owner to take possession?
It all starts at a loading dock unseen from the main roadways frequented by visitors. Car carrier trucks frequent the dock, unloading cars in a steady stream. From the delivery dock, the cars are accepted to their temporary home through a gaping mouth leading down below the ground. Cars are filed into an elaborate car carrier system that lowers and elevates them into their assigned resting spot. Once the car is placed in the elevator, it is led down into the depths of a truly impressive underground world.
BMW’s ‘car hotel’ is an expansive storage system – completely automated with robotics. Think of it as a massive library of cars, with shelves along the walls housing each vehicle. When a car is due for the delivery process, a robotic car carrier descends to pick it up and then maneuvers it through the deep underground maze stretching many floors below ground.
The BMW eventually makes its way back up to the main floor, not far from the location it was originally delivered by truck, and now… it’s time for a bath. Fed one-by-one into an automated car wash, the cars surface at the other end, squeaky clean.
Now that customers are assured of a dust and dirt-free new car, it’s time to ensure that they are not presented with a flawed specimen. The car is driven over to an inspection station, brightly lit from every angle by a myriad of powerful overhead lights – the likes of which can expose imperfections on any surface. Exacting inspectors carefully examine every surface, angle and detail of the new car with near fanaticism. They obsess and peruse, they finick and fondle until every square inch of the car has been assessed. Any imperfection is unacceptable and will result in a very fast repair, or in the car being sent away for a suitable replacement.
Next, the car is driven to a mechanical inspection station, where it is given one final run down and diagnostic assessment. Wires hang from under-hood and computers crunch numbers and cycle through testing. Busy technicians move their hands in a flutter and give their final approval after guaranteeing that each BMW is autobahn and Nurburgring ready. And if their new owners are as enthusiastic about driving as we are, then their new machine will see high triple-digit speeds and 174 corners within a few very short days after break-in.
After the cars are cleaned and inspected aesthetically and mechanically, they are next driven to a final station where they are plated and prepared for presentation to the customer. Whether a local car or one eventually destined for a far away land, all BMW’s are badged with the narrow blue and white plates coveted as a stylish memento by so many. As a final souvenir from you European delivery experience, your BMW will be delivered to your home dealership with its European plates still attached. This tin will look awfully good hung on your office wall.
Finally, turning into a giant glass encased car elevator, each BMW makes its accent to the delivery floor. Driven to its designated spot, it may be circling on a turn table with a few minutes, or parked elsewhere in the expansive building. And, alas, love is in the air. Bright eyed owners have a skip in their step as they spend their first momentous moments with their car. Go ahead. Let yours hands follow the curves as though wind across the paint. Survey it from every angle. Circle it as a bird of prey until finally, you crack open the driver’s door. A potent new car smells wafts into the air and perks your nose. Crisp surfaces and firm leather embrace your body. A car delivery specialist walks you through set up and gets you comfortable behind the wheel.
At long last, the moment of truth: “Munich – we have ignition.”
BMWBLOG is proud to present the below photo gallery highlighting our trip through the Welt’s underworld. We would like to offer our special thanks to BMW AG for their hospitality and extensive tour of their famed facility.
Stay tuned for BMWBLOG’s video review of our BMW Welt behind the scenes experience.
Special thanks to Manny Antunes at JMK BMW for allocation their first 1M to us.