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Major BMW Shareholder Quandt Family Continues Commitment to BMW

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Stefan Quandt - BMW Owner

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By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
Amsterdam Bureau
The Auto Channel

MUNICH, December 1, 2010; In the fifties, BMW was threatened to fall prey to Daimler-Benz, but was saved by Herbert Quandt. Yesterday it was exactly 50 years ago that the recovery plan of Mr. Quandt was adopted by the general shareholders meeting and the Bayerische Motoren Werke was able to make a new start. A year earlier the shareholders had voted against a takeover bid by then called Daimler-Benz..

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The fact was celebrated with a modest event for about 300 guests in the beautiful conference hall of the former Messe in Munich, with the theme "Milestone of Freude (am Fahren) - BMW road in the future."

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Joachim Milberg, Chairman of the Supervisory Board said on that occasion: “Herbert Quandt and his entrepreneurial spirit, his intuition and ability to take bold decisions put the company back on track and secured the future.”

BMW AG's CEO Dr. Norbert Reithofer: "No one can predict exactly how we, in about 20 or 40 years, will all be moving." He is convinced, that the demand for mobility will continue to grow, especially in emerging markets like China and India. "BMW has set itself the target with the development of new drive systems and new concepts. We will do that ourselves as an independent company.”

His company is committed to decrease CO2 emissions of its fleet by 25 percent in the next 10 years, like it did in the past decade. "The Mega City electric vehicle is the beginning of a whole family of ultra low emission vehicles as a sub-brand of BMW."

Recently, the arrival in 2013 of the Vision EfficientDynamics, a hybrid sports car with highly efficient three cylinder diesel engine and two electric motors, was officially announced. The concept for this car was literally the center of the Alte Kongresshalle.

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Mr. Reithofer recalled the general meeting of 30 November 1960, when Herbert Quandt presented a proposal to rescue the ailing company and fended off a takeover by Daimler-Benz.

In those years, BMW sold 42,000 cars and employed 6,900 people. As a result of a wrong model policy, the company was in financial difficulties. It needed a loan to pay the workers' wages. The banks, nor the government was willing to support the company and only the union could, albeit limited, offered help.

Essential to the involvement of Herbert Quandt was the role of Kurt Golda who joined BMW in 1949 as a locksmith at the plant in Allach. In 1955 he went from there to the Wilbertshofen plant, where he experienced the tough time of the company. Gold, then workshop manager and chairman of the works council, had a meeting with Herbert Quandt. Instantly, the two men had a click After Golda convinced Quandt that the workers would go through fire and water for him if the company would remain independent, the industrialist was willing to help. The Quandt family is still a major shareholder (47 %) of BMW AG. The children of Herbert, Stefan Quandt, Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board and its sister Susanne Klatten, member of the Supervisory Board, attended the ceremony yesterday, together with their mother.

Stefan Quandt, who, like his relatives shun publicity, said during his somewhat emotionally tinted speech that his father did not necessarily need to interfere. "My father was not the founder of the company, his name was not on the building. But he was at that time already inextricably linked with BMW. He wanted it and took the risk with all he had, against the advice of his closest advisers. It was a conscious decision that he later called his toughest decision." (The History of the Quandt family has its origin in the textile industry in the early 19th century.)

Stefan Quandt said that following the unexpected death of his father at the age of 71 (in 1980), the relationship between the family and the company did not change. "My mother, Johanna Quandt took over the position of my father on the Supervisory Board and together with its president Graf von der Goltz, ensured the stability of BMW, while preserving the entrepreneurial spirit. We thank her for that and the fact that she passed on the family's enthusiasm for BMW to us."

Chairman of the Works Council Manfred Schoch praised the family for its dedication to the employees. "With the introduction in 1973 of profit sharing, she set the standard, since BMW was the first company in Germany with this program.”

With 1.4 million cars sold annually. BMW AG is a relatively small car manufacturer in comparison with companies such as Toyota, VW or Renault/Nissan. Soon after the takeover of Rover proved to be a debacle, there were rumours of an imminent takeover.

Stefan Quandt: "In the past five decades. BMW has turned around from an acquisition candidate into the world's most successful manufacturer of premium vehicles. We have guided the company on this road, we jointly were committed to challenges, we have been working on solutions and we cherish the objectives achieved, like today. But the present is only the future of the past. We must now continue to shape them."

Mr. Quandt said that the family is looking forward to shaping the future with BMW. “Lead do not follow, that is BMW’s call.”