Preparation of Show Cars for BMW – Yes, we Care!
At the Leipzig car show, BMW gave its visitors a few moments that were literally illuminating. They were made possible by the vehicles’ special interior lighting system – which was installed by Formel D. It’s just one of the many services that the service provider offers in its CARing. portfolio.
Formel D has been working for BMW on a global scale for a long time. Take, for example, BMW’s Leipzig plant – just ten minutes from Leipzig’s fairground. At the beginning of July, when the Leipzig car show “AMI” (Auto Mobil International) was right around the corner, it became obvious that the two partners would be able to cooperate on-site. “We were responsible for preparing the vehicles that were to be displayed at the exhibition,” explains Tobias Oettel, key account manager at Formel D. “We integrated a special lighting system into the cars for example, which gave the visitors a better feel for the design of the cars’ interior and the materials that were used.”
Everything’s “on Time”
In addition to being attached, the lighting elements also had to be equipped with an appropriate cable system. The mechanics passed the cables through the cars’ interior and connected them to a prepared external power source. Naturally, this had to remain invisible to the visitors. Furthermore, Formel D monitored various special settings, such as those that deactivated the horn or interrupted the ignition process, and inspected the vehicles’ control elements. When it came to carrying out the tasks, it wasn’t just technical know-how that was needed. Perfect time management was of the essence. After all, BMW presented a total of 21 vehicles: from the first-generation three-door model and the new third-generation Touring, which made their first-ever appearances at the AMI, to the seventh-generation BMW, all the latest models were represented in Leipzig. They had to be made “ready for the show” in less than 36 hours. Tobias Oettel loves challenges like this. “Because everything has to be cut to the chase,” as he puts it. “The proceedings are always very hectic before a trade show opens its gates to the public. There are booth builders, suppliers and catering crews, and the vehicles are delivered in the midst of all this. Then someone shows up to polish the cars to a glossy finish, and these things go on for a long time. Seeing the end product, when everything is in its place and in working order, really is a wonderful feeling!”
Professionals at Work
The key account manager doesn’t mind the fact that a working day like this can have a lot of hours: before he came to Formel D, he organised trade shows all over the world for the air freight industry, among other things – and that’s the norm here, too. “You need a high degree of coordination and professionalism to keep an eye on the many interfaces. I don’t have to do it by myself, though: my colleagues bring along a world of experience in ensuring that everything runs smoothly.” The Formel D team was at the ready throughout the entire duration of the trade show. They were also responsible for the complete removal of the used elements and handing the cars over to the vehicle logistics centre. “Five of us were present onsite during the core hours – one project manager and four motor mechanics,” explains Oettel. The technicians are familiar with the car manufacturer from their daily work: they are responsible for quality assurance at the nearby BMW plant.
Be it bodywork specialists, project or material engineers, master mechanics or lacquerers, the Formel D Group always draws on a pool of qualified employees to service its clients. Thanks to the company’s large global network, it’s always ready for action at a moment’s notice – wherever the need arises. Everyone works at the same level, to which several training programmes contribute. Tobias Oettel considers the employees’ high level of technical education to be one of Formel D’s most important USPs. The fact that all of them are permanent members of the team who are not engaged on a project-by-project basis is a rarity in this particular industry. After all, customer satisfaction begins with employee satisfaction.
CARing. – a Wide Field
The services that Formel D provides at the AMI represent just one section of the many services the company provides in its CARing. portfolio. It includes the most diverse conversions and upgrades, be they for show or press vehicles, special productions, serial or special vehicles (e.g. police cars) or the so-called “actions”. “That’s the term we use for rework on cars that are already ready and have left the conveyor belt behind. For example, we once had to touch up 300 vehicles, and the ship was already waiting in the harbour,” explains Oettel.
“We get many clients as a result of referrals, and these clients initially think of us as a service provider that only caters to a single business area,” says Tobias Oettel. “They are often quite surprised when they see the width of our range of services, which includes CARing. and other business areas, along with all their synergies. After all, we have the ability to supervise the entire product engineering process. All the way up to the consumers, who are at the heart of our activities.”