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In Munich as BMW celebrates 100th anniversary
By Liz Dobson in Munich • 08/03/2016
First of four concept cars from BMW Group marks firm's centenary
BMW Group celebrated its 100th anniversary with the unveiling of the first of its concept cars, the Vision Next 100 vehicle that sees the company hedges its bet with the sports coupe being driver-capable and with a self-drive option.
Images were first revealed to the international media at a press conference in Munich yesterday (today EST) at the company's new classic car museum. The Vision Next 100 will be followed by concept vehicles from the three other brands in the group - Mini, Rolls-Royce and Motorrad - over the next few months.
The Vision Next 100 is the first of four concept vehicles. Photo / Liz Dobson
While technically the company didn't start making vehicles until 1923 with the R 32 bike, March 7 marks the anniversary of the founding of the company Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works).
BMW Group's chairman Harald Kruger told the press conference that the 100th anniversary was looking towards the next 100 years of motoring, and mobility for 2030 and beyond.
The Vision Next 100 can be driven or self drive. Photo /supplied.
BMW Group's head designer Adrian van Hooydonk said the Mini concept car to celebrate the centenary would be revealed in June with the theme “Every Mini is My Mini” while for the first time in its history, Rolls-Royce has created a concept vehicle with the title “Grand Sanctuary”.
The motorbike brand, Motorrad, would show its concept vehicle in October with the slogan “The Great Escape”.
The concept car and BMW Group chairman Harald Kruger. Photo / supplied.
But it was the Vision Next 100 concept vehicle that was the star of the company’s centenary in Munich yesterday (today EST).
Rather than being purely autonomous, the sports coupe had a choice of driver-controlled or vehicle-controlled functions with a clear dash, information reflected onto the front window (including the ideal drive line and hidden objects), plus instead of a steering wheel, something van Hooydonk admitted to the press conference didn’t have a name. “ Maybe a steering furniture?” he suggested.
The front grille of the Vision Next 100 at the official 100th event in Munich. Photo / Liz Dobson.
The company then held an hour-long live stream centennial event on Monday afternoon (Munich time) for international media, BMW Group board members and executives at Olympic Hall, just across from the company's head quarters.
The Vision Next 100 at the official 100th event in Munich. Photo / Liz Dobson.
Production at the company's factories stopped during the stream and BMW said more than 32,000 employees watched the live stream of the ceremony, then the Vision Next 100 was driven onto the stage.