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BMW Korea recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for the BMW Group Driving Center in Yeongjong Island off Incheon. The driving center, which the German group is building for the first time in Asia, will be the third center for the group following those in Germany and the United States.
The driving center, in which KRW 70 billion will be invested, is on a 240,000 m2 site, which is the equivalent of 33 soccer fields. Under the theme of experience, fun and eco-friendliness, it will have six trainings for safe driving, a track for international competitions and cultural and educational spaces.
The center’s opening is planned for spring 2014, after a pilot run. It is forecast to draw 200,000 visitors yearly.
BMW Group expects the driving center to lead the automobile culture of Korea and Asia.
BMW Korea President Kim Hyo-joon noted that the driving center is the first step toward an automobile culture in Korea, adding that it is designed so that everyone can experience and enjoy cars.
The driving center will help the automobile culture take root in Korea, which is ranked 5th and 4th for automobile production and exports, respectively. The center also aims to encourage visitors to experience automobiles as a culture, said President Kim.
He continued that having the BMW Group’s first Asian driving center in Korea signifies that the Group is aware of Korea’s potential for a more diversified and mature automobile industry despite its small portion in the total market, explaining that BMW is now shifting its focus from quantity to culture and quality.
Hendrik von Kuenheim, Chief of BMW’s Asia-Pacific and South Africa markets, noted that establishing the driving center in Korea instead of Japan and China, where markets are bigger, shows that BMW regards Korea as an important market.
He noted that he was surprised at the plans from BMW Korea, as other markets did not propose such ideas. Korea’s BMW Driving Center, which encompasses test-driving and leisure activities, will create positive effects on Korea and the BMW Group, he added.
The driving track, one of the key facilities of the BMW Group Driving Center, will focus on education and experiences for customers and the general public. The 2.6km track will have six different driving courses including those related to sudden acceleration, breaking, handling, dynamic, circle, multi, and xDrive offroad. BMW customers and the general public can test drive BMWs and MINIs via appointment.
The customer center will include cultural and education spaces for families. Including cultural spaces to experience the BMW Group, the center will also feature a hall of BMW’s history and traditions for children, a BMW heritage gallery, a café and a restaurant.
The BMW training academy currently in Suwon will be moved to Incheon. The training center will be equipped with facilities to train 15,000 in a year, including a brand academy and facilities for technical training, customer service and sales.
The airport service, which provides maintenance service for BMW customers flying out of Incheon International Airport, will also be provided. The center’s environment-friendly park of 12,000 m2 will be opened for the general public.
Source: Newsis (June 4, 2013)
** This article was translated from the Korean.