Volkswagen wins green award

The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand has won the National Energy Globe Award Germany for its holistic environmental programme “Think Blue. Factory.” Earning particular recognition was its eco-friendly use of resources in production. With the Austrian Energy Globe Foundation as its patron, the award allows outstanding projects from all over the world with a focus on conserving resources, energy efficiency and using renewable energies to be honoured every year. The award was presented by the Austrian ambassador Dr. Ralph Scheide in Berlin.

“Being awarded the National Energy Globe Award Germany is both an endorsement and an incentive for us to organise vehicle production at Volkswagen in an even more environmentally friendly way,” said Peter Bosch, Head of Strategy, Processes and Structures for Production and Logistics at the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand at the awards ceremony in the Austrian embassy in Berlin.

“Think Blue. Factory.” is Volkswagen’s environmental programme, designed to help it to become a leader in ecological sustainability in production by 2018. A key objective is to restructure the plants to make them 25 percent more friendly to the environment compared to 2010 – in terms of energy and water consumption, CO2 and solvent emissions, as well as waste. And Volkswagen is making substantial progress: half of these objectives have already been implemented.

Friedrich-Wilhelm Gundlach, Head of Strategy and Competence Development of the Components management area, explains: “The success of ‘Think Blue. Factory’ owes a lot to the commitment of our employees in particular. Numerous ideas and experiences from the production locations are being consistently developed and refined, in particular thanks to the systematic exchange of information among each other. This allows us to turn our knowledge into a tool.”

The National Energy Globe Award Germany joins a multitude of national and international awards honouring “Think Blue. Factory.” and is the 24th distinction received since 2010. These have included awards as significant as the “Green Tec Award”, the “Lean & Green Efficiency Award” and the “Green Controlling Prize”.

The Energy Globe Award has been presented to environmental projects at regional, national and international level every year since 1999. Patron is the Energy Globe Foundation, which distinguishes the projects in cooperation with its partners in the respective countries. Innovative projects and initiatives from more than 160 countries compete for the awards every year.

“Think Blue. Factory.” is part of “Think Blue.” – the holistic approach of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand to ecological sustainability.

BMW Group Opens First Driving Centre in Asia

The BMW Group has opened its first Driving Centre in Asia, located in Incheon, Korea. The investment totals 75.5 million US Dollars up to 2020 (77 billion Korean won), and around100 new jobs have already been created.

The BMW Group has driving experience centres in both Germany and the US, however the Driving Centre in Korea is the first one worldwide to combine both a driving track and a dedicated brand experience. It will open its doors to the public in early August 2014.

At the opening ceremony, Dr. Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Sales and Marketing BMW, said: “The Driving Centre is the next step in our commitment to Korea and to Asia. Korea is one of our fastest growing markets and now our ninth largest single market worldwide. We see more potential here and wish to grow even further. I am very happy that customers here now have more opportunity to fully experience our BMW and MINI brands.”

Concepts such as the Driving Centre are part of the BMW Group’s comprehensive “Future Retail” strategy, an approach that marks a significant shift in the way that the company interacts with its customers. This program includes new, innovative and inspiring ways for customers to experience products and brands, such as city centre Brand Stores and City Sales Outlets.

The Driving Centre accommodates a 2.6 kilometer closed circuit track where drivers can experience a variety of situations, such as high speed driving, emergency and off-road techniques, using BMW and MINI vehicles. The centre offers dedicated exhibits around BMW, MINI and BMW Motorrad vehicles, a new Junior Campus with specially tailored science education programs on mobility and road safety for children, as well as a 12,000 square metre eco-friendly sports park. In total, the Driving Centre covers 240,000 square metres, the equivalent of 33 soccer fields.

The facilities will also serve as a new training centre for sales, customer service and product training. Furthermore, a Service Centre operated by Bavarian Motors, an authorized BMW and MINI dealer, offers customers a service point for minor problems. In addition, BMW and MINI owners can take advantage of the newly established “Airport Service”, where they can leave their cars for maintenance and other care programmes during their travels.

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As a further sign of commitment to the market, the BMW Group also announced at the ceremony that it has opened a satellite R&D Centre in Korea.

Dr. Ian Robertson stated that, “Being one of the most highly-advanced technological nations in the world, customers in South Korea have very specific needs and expectations. Both the BMW Group and South Korea share a passion for high quality products and to be at the forefront of innovation. Therefore we have established this new R&D Centre in Korea to better serve the demands of our customers here.”

The R&D Centre began operations at the beginning of July. It is expected to have a headcount of around 20 people by the end of 2015.

The benefits of the BMW Group’s extended R&D operations are threefold: the implementation of local customer requirements and market-oriented solutions, to pick up trends in innovation through improved ties with local companies, as well as technology scouting through cooperation with local technology companies, universities and institutes.

It is the fifth satellite R&D Centre for the company worldwide, with similar centres already in operation in Japan, China, the US, and Brazil.

The BMW Group

With its three brands BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce, the BMW Group is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. As a global company, the BMW Group operates 28 production and assembly facilities in 13 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.

In 2013, the BMW Group sold approximately 1.963 million cars and 115,215 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax for the financial year 2013 was € 7.91 billion on revenues amounting to approximately € 76.06 billion. As of 31 December 2013, the BMW Group had a workforce of 110,351 employees.

The success of the BMW Group has always been based on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy.

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