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Personnel changes at the BMW Group

Effective 1 December 2015, Olaf Kastner will take over as head of the BMW Group’s China sales region from Karsten Engel, who will be returning to Germany. Kastner was previously head of the BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture, which produces and markets vehicles in China for the BMW Group and its Chinese partner, Brilliance China Auto Holding. Anton Heiss will … Continued

Effective 1 December 2015, Olaf Kastner will take over as head of the BMW Group’s China sales region from Karsten Engel, who will be returning to Germany. Kastner was previously head of the BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture, which produces and markets vehicles in China for the BMW Group and its Chinese partner, Brilliance China Auto Holding. Anton Heiss will assume the president and CEO of BMW Brilliance Automotive. Heiss currently manages the joint venture’s production sites in Shenyang and will continue this role for the time being in addition to his new position.

“With his extensive Asia experience, Karsten Engel successfully developed the Chinese market for the BMW Group in recent years,” stated Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “As a result, the BMW Group is well-positioned for the future in the Chinese market.” Engel joined the BMW Group in 1985 and has been head of the China sales region since end of 2012. Under his leadership, the BMW Group expanded the range of products and services for its largest single market and successfully introduced electro-mobility with BMW i. Another focal point for Engel has been strengthening the BMW and MINI brands and reaching out to younger buyers.

In Olaf Kastner, the sales region is gaining another knowledgeable automotive business and China expert, who has managed the BMW Brilliance Automotive Joint Venture for the past six years. “I am delighted that, in Olaf Kastner, our largest market has a new manager who knows the Chinese automotive business extremely well, as well as the culture, the country and its people,” explained Friedrich Eichiner, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Finance. The successful joint venture with Brilliance China Auto was extensively expanded under Kastner and the contract has been extended early for another ten years up to 2028.

Anton Heiss, the future head of the joint venture, started his career at BMW Group in 1988 and has been taking various manager roles in BMW Group production and powertrain systems worldwide. Heiss has been responsible for the three production plants in Shenyang – two vehicle plants and an engine plant – and the R&D and purchasing activities since 2013. “Our principle is: Production follows the market – and, in Anton Heiss, BMW Brilliance Automotive has a new manager who knows both extremely well,” according to Eichiner. “As previously announced, we will continue to expand our joint venture’s product range in China. I am delighted that we will be able to rely on Anton Heiss’s wealth of experience,” added the BMW AG CFO.

The BMW Group sold more than 455,000 vehicles in China in 2014. In the past five years, more than two billion euros has been invested in expansion of the Shenyang plants and in research and development activities. Local production has increased in recent years to more than 285,000 units annually. A new engine plant currently under construction will begin production of three- and four-cylinder petrol engines in 2016.

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