“It was the most beautiful car I had ever seen”

As it celebrates its 100th anniversary, the BMW Group can look back on a successful history – made possible by the people who work for the company day in, day out. Many of these employees not only do valuable work securing the future of the BMW Group, they also demonstrate real social commitment and a personal passion for the models of the BMW Group brands. BMW Magazine digital introduces some of them in a three-part series.

Julian Baumann
Interviews and transcripts
Benedikt Sarreiter

Rebekka Büttner (25)

“For me the BMW Group always seemed one of the most attractive employers. I haven’t been disappointed. When I first arrived at the BMW i3 assembly halls in Leipzig, I was really impressed. I’m part of BMW’s Fastlane Master’s programme and I’m currently writing my Master’s thesis. One of the issues I’m looking into is what happens when the interaction between humans and robots becomes more and more intense. Basically, I’m confident that the BMW Group will play a leading role in the mobility of the future, because it’s already focusing heavily on innovation today.”

Industrial engineering student, Germany

Leon Potgieter (55)

“I had a very formative experience as a young economics student: I was walking down a street and came across a second-generation BMW 3 Series. It was the most beautiful car I had ever seen. From that moment on, the BMW brand became part of my life. I’ve been selling BMW vehicles since 1989, and since 1992 I’ve been joint partner in what are now two dealership operations for cars and motorcycles. Comfort, sportiness, luxury, design and innovation must continue to play a key role in future. We have to ensure that we continue as one of the big players. That’s the challenge. But we will face up to it. I’m always excited by how BMW is able to read the market and help move it forward.”

Managing Director of the Donford Group dealerships in Stellenbosch and Cape Town, South Africa

Tayfun Samli (26)

Alongside your job with the BMW Group you are involved in the “Heroes” project.
That’s right. Our aim is to raise awareness of specific issues among young people who come from a migration background. These youngsters often have a foot in two different worlds – one where men and women have equal opportunities, and one where women often suffer oppression. It can be very difficult to get them to talk about taboos such as this or honour-based violence. What more could the BMW Group do to help in this area in future?
I think it’s great that the company already promotes voluntary work. In my view it can continue to make a major contribution in future by offering apprenticeships and internships.

Applications engineer for HR systems

Paul Figueroa-Cotorogea (19)

“I was born in Mexico and have always had a passion for technology. I’m currently doing a dual training course – technical college plus work experience – and restoring wonderful BMW classics. Really exciting!”

Third year of training as an automotive mechanical engineer

Matthias Staudinger (19)

In the village of Oberornau, 70 kilometres east of Munich, Matthias Staudinger comes home to rural tranquillity – a far cry from the everyday hustle and bustle of the BMW Group in Munich, where he is currently training to become a technical model constructor. He ranks the BMW M4 as one of the most beautiful cars ever built by BMW. A lot is going to happen in automotive design in the years ahead, Staudinger says: “You can already see how much things have changed when you compare the BMW i8 with earlier models.” His ambition is to help shape these changes.

Second year of training as a technical model constructor

Calvin Luk (30)

When did your fascination with automotive design and BMW begin?
In the 1990s, when my parents bought a BMW 3 Series. I was ten years old at the time and really crazy about that car. So you can imagine my excitement when I got to see the development of a new car design for the first time – from initial sketch to full-size model. What are the challenges that a car designer has to face?
Often the big issue is how to project the character you want the car to have onto a three-dimensional object which must also serve its intended purpose. I found the BMW X1 a very exciting project because its architecture was entirely new. I’m particularly proud of its excellent aerodynamics.

Designer, Munich, Germany

Anthony Kibong Choi (39)

What do you see as good car design?
A vehicle that is so unmistakable and compelling that it sticks in your memory. “I think it will become increasingly important to give the customer something special to remember. It’s all about experiencing the brand and its products. We at the Driving Center can contribute to that. Here people really have a chance to discover and enjoy BMW and MINI.”

Manager Planning and Strategy BMW and MINI Driving Center, South Korea