Bmw the 7-Series Project a

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9-692-083 REV. JANUARY 03, 2002 GARY PISANO BMW: The 7-Series Project (A) As he accelerated past the security gates of BMW’s Research and Engineering Center, Carl-Peter Forster, director of Prototype and Pilot Manufacturing, thought about the 7-series project meeting. It was June 12, 1991, exactly two years, eight months, and five days until the scheduled start of production of the completely redesigned 7-series luxury sedan. The project, code-named E-99, was reaching a critical milestone. Over the next several months, engineering prototypes1 had to be designed, built and tested so that one last round of design revisions could be made in time for launch. Traditionally, BMW hand-built and assembled its prototype cars in its…show more content…
Through success on the race track and the introduction of several trend setting sporty roadsters from the 1930s to the 1950s, BMW built a reputation for high-performance engineering. Despite these successes, BMW remained a relatively small specialist, more admired for its engineering and technical prowess than its commercial success. In 1959, BMW was so weak financially that it was nearly bought out by its much larger rival, Daimler-Benz. Instead, BMW was rescued by a $1 million investment from the Quandt family, who since that time was the majority shareholder. In 1966, with its larger, more sophisticated 02 series, BMW created a new automobile market segment that combined the high-performance engineering of sporty roadsters with the size, styling, and comfort of the European luxury sedan. This combination set BMW apart from its competitors and was largely responsible for the company’s move into the world league of car companies in the 1970s. From 1970 to 1990, sales volume (in DM) grew by a factor of 15, car production increased from 160,000 units per year to slightly over 500,000 units/year, and the work force trebled. Since 1959, BMW earned a profit every year; between 1980 and 1990, return on shareholders equity annually averaged 21%, and 1990 profits were expected to reach a record DM 700 million (Exhibit 2). During this period the

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