Yesterday at 10:45 a.m. in Assembly Hall 50 at BMW’s factory in Dingolfing, a town northeast of Munich, it was nearly showtime. Several hundred hand-picked workers in boiler-suits were gathered in a semi-circle. Thousands more watched the proceedings on screens in factory cafeterias. Tension mounted.
Then, onto the stage stepped Harald Krüger, the new boss of BMW, in a suit and patent leather shoes. He was there, as if the staff didn’t know, to publicly unveil the first production model of the 2016-version of the 7-Series sedan, the company’s flagship car.
Mr. Krüger, who took up his new post last month, is made for the stage. As soon as the camera is pointed at him, he radiates a boyish charm. The new 7-Series is “the most innovative sedan in the world,” the chief executive said in praise of the luxury car that will go on the market in October.
He used Wednesday’s unveiling as an opportunity to gee up the Dingolfing staff, who will be responsible for cranking out thousands of 7-Series cars in the coming months. “I’m sure that as CEO I can count on Dingolfing,” said Mr. Krüger at the end of his first public performance as head of BMW.
Such praise is important. Dingolfing is the workhorse and engine room of BMW. More than 17,000 people work at the company’s largest production site, located 90 kilometers northeast of Munich.