BMW Opens Upgraded R&D Center in Incheon, South Korea to Expand Presence in Growing Imported Car Market

BMW opens upgraded R&D center in South Korea, investing $8.69M to accelerate vehicle launches, boost electrification, and strengthen customization for the country's growing imported car market.

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BMW Opens Upgraded R&D Center in Incheon, South Korea to Expand Presence in Growing Imported Car Market

BMW Opens Upgraded R&D Center in Incheon, South Korea to Expand Presence in Growing Imported Car Market

BMW has opened an upgraded research and development (R&D) center in Incheon, South Korea on April 22, 2024. The new facility, spanning 5,296 square meters, is designed to accelerate vehicle launches and boost the company's electrification technology. The R&D center will also strengthen BMW's customization and homologation capabilities for the Korean market, which is the company's fifth-largest market globally.

The BMW Group R&D Center Korea, located in the Cheongna International City district, will house around 50 employees focused on certifying vehicles imported into South Korea and supporting product development. The center includes a laboratory that can test up to 16 vehicles and features a hydrogen fuel cell-powered prototype. It is equipped with various test labs and facilities for vehicle certification and electrification technology verification.

BMW invested KRW12 billion (approximately $8.69 million) in the construction of the facility. The center will collaborate with domestic companies, research institutes, and universities on developing navigation systems, voice recognition software, user interface prototypes, and more. It will play a critical role in product development by establishing maintenance and testing procedures for pre-production prototype vehicles to enhance quality and performance.

Why this matters: The opening of the upgraded R&D center in South Korea is part of BMW's strategy to expand its presence in the country's growing imported car market. As one of BMW's top five global markets, South Korea will be a key focus for optimizing vehicles and mobility solutions, with the center handling all certification testing in-house within the next three to four years.

The opening ceremony was attended by senior BMW executives from Germany and the Asia-Pacific region, as well as Korean government officials and representatives from the company's authorized dealer in the country. "The new R&D center will be the core of the BMW Group's R&D in Korea," said BMW Korea Chairman and CEO Han Sang-yun. "It will enable us to develop and test customized vehicles, services and technologies for the Korean market, and play a pivotal role in our electrification strategy."

Last year, BMW surpassed Mercedes-Benz as the leading foreign automobile company in South Korea in terms of sales, selling 77,395 units out of the total 271,034 foreign vehicles sold in the country. The investment in the upgraded R&D center demonstrates BMW's commitment to strengthening its foothold in the South Korean market and catering to the growing demand for imported luxury vehicles in the country.

Key Takeaways

  • BMW opened an upgraded R&D center in Incheon, South Korea on April 22, 2024.
  • The 5,296 sq m center will accelerate vehicle launches and boost electrification tech.
  • BMW invested KRW12 billion ($8.69M) to establish the center, which will collaborate with local partners.
  • The center will handle all certification testing in-house within 3-4 years.
  • BMW surpassed Mercedes-Benz as the top foreign automaker in South Korea in 2023.