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Penske Automotive Acquires Land Rover Dealership

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Penske Automotive Group, Inc. announced today the acquisition of a Land Rover dealership in Darien, Connecticut. The company estimates the dealership will generate approximately $50 million of revenue annually.

Penske Automotive Group President Robert H. Kurnick, Jr., said, “We are pleased to add the Land Rover brand to our existing automotive dealership operations in Connecticut. For almost 30 years, this dealership has been serving customers in Darien, Greenwich, Westport and Stamford with a dedication to customer service. This brand complements our existing presence with Audi, BMW, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche in the Connecticut market and connects our business from Fairfield, through Darien and into Greenwich, allowing us to continue scaling our operations.”

[Source: PenskeAutomotive.com]

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GeneralIndustry News

BMW Debuts Six New Models in New York

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BMW took advantage of its time in the Big Apple, bringing along six vehicles that have never been seen in the U.S. Penske Automotive Group was at the 2014 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) to witness the German automaker showcase two vehicles that made their world debut and four others making their North American debut.

Arguably the most anticipated debut for the automaker was that of the BMW M4 Convertible, which combines the performance and body styling of the BMW M4 Coupe and BMW M3 Sedan with a retractable roof. Powering the BMW M4 Convertible is a 425-horsepower 3.0-liter M TwinPower Turbo inline six-cylinder engine, which propels the debuting vehicle 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. The M4 Convertible will arrive at Penske BMW dealership showrooms this summer.

Also making its world debut in New York was the all-new BMW X4 Sports Activity Coupe. This all-new model will begin production soon exclusively at BMW’s production facility in Spartanburg, S.C. The new X4 will come with a choice of two TwinPower Turbo engines: BMW’s award-winning 240-horsepower 2.0-liter four cylinder on the X4 xDrive28i and a 300-horsepower 3.0-liter inline six on the top-of-line X4 xDrive35i. Both models include an eight-speed Steptronic sport automatic transmission with shift paddles and xDrive, BMW’s intelligent all-wheel drive system, standard.

Making their North American debuts were the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, the 2015 ALPINA B6 xDrive Gran Coupe, the Concept X5 eDrive and the X3 Sports Activity Vehicle. All four vehicles are set to arrive at Penske BMW dealerships later this year.

The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe brings the sporty character of the 4 Series Coupe with the functionality provided by four doors. It arrives in early summer with two engine choices: the award-winning 240-horsepower TwinPower Turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the 300-horsepower TwinPower Turbo 3.0-liter inline six.

The 2015 BMW ALPINA B6 xDrive Gran Coupe delivers 0 to 60 mph in only 3.7 seconds thanks to a 540-horsepower, 4.4-liter ALPINA Bi-Turbo V8. This powerhouse also features an eight-speed Sports Automatic Transmission with ALPINA SWITCH-TRONIC and BMW’s xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system. The ALPINA B6 Gran Coupe will go on sale in the next couple of months.

The BMW Concept X5 eDrive features the combination of a BMW TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder combustion engine and a 95-horsepower electric motor, which provides performance and an impressive average fuel efficiency of approximately 62 mpg. Different drive modes can also be selected, such as the full-electric mode, with a maximum possible range of 19 miles at speeds up to 75 mph. The vehicle’s high-voltage battery can be charged quickly and conveniently using the BMW home charging station, but it can also be charged using any standard household power outlet or public charging station.

The 2015 BMW X3 Sports Activity Vehicle is the third generation for the model, featuring interior and exterior revisions and the availability of BMW Advanced Diesel power. The release of the new X3, which is set to hit showrooms in the next couple of months, will also mark the debut of the rear-wheel drive BMW X3 sDrive28i model an entry point into the X3. The new xDrive28d will feature BMW’s 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo diesel four-cylinder engine with 180 horsepower, while the X3 xDrive28i features BMW 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo gasoline engine, producing 240 horsepower.

 

Stay tuned to Penske Social for more photos, video and information about these new BMW models.

[Source: BMW USA]

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Company NewsGeneral

Penske Automotive Uses Apple Concept for Product Specialist Program

Penske Automotive Uses Apple Concept for Product Specialist Program

Penske Automotive launched a product specialist program in one of its stores last month to try to increase sales and improve customer satisfaction. The name or location of the store is not being revealed. The concept that the company is using closely emulates the “genius” product specialists that Apple uses at its retail stores.

Tony Pordon, the executive vice president of investor relations and corporate development, says that the idea to initiate such a scheme came from the general manager of the test store. She is trying to creatively drive more people to her location and to improve customer satisfaction ratings at the dealership. Pordon would only say that a high-volume foreign brand is sold at the store.

Penske Automotive is not the first company to test out product specialists in its stores. BMW also took inspiration from Apple for its BMW Genius Everywhere program, which was launched in the United Kingdom and has spread throughout Europe. The vehicle manufacturer requires its dealerships to hire young, tech-savvy people to answer inquiries about its vehicles. BMW is expected to bring this program to the United States early next year.

Penske Automotive supports BMW Genius Everywhere, as well as sells the manufacturer’s vehicles, but Pordon says that its product specialist initiative is separate. The company owns 140 dealerships, but has only hired two product specialists. Pordon says that energetic, tech-savvy people who are willing to embrace changes in technology are ideal candidates for future product specialists. The company wants people who understand product details and have robust communication skills.

Pordon explained that Penske Automotive product specialists will greet customers, go on test drives and do vehicle walk-arounds before a salesperson begins to negotiate a price with the customers. The goal is to meet the high expectations of customers and provide a better, faster experience. Emulating the tech-savviness that other businesses have is one way to accomplish this goal, and that is why this program has been initiated.

He also noted that this is a lower-cost way to boost store sales, despite the upfront cost of hiring product specialists, because it will lead to more gross and increase profits. The management team will examine the initiative and make adjustments as necessary, such as having the product specialists do the sales side of the business as well. If the program works, Penske Automotive will consider launching it at other dealerships.

 

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General

Penske Logistics Wins Bid to Operate BMW Parts Distribution Center

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Penske Logistics recently announced it was awarded the contract to be the operational manager of the BMW of North America, LLC parts distribution center in Nazareth, Pa.

“We are pleased to further expand our existing relationship with BMW,” said Penske Logistics President Marc Althen. “We are collaborating closely to ensure a smooth transition of the operations and in welcoming the employees into our organization.”

Financial terms were not disclosed. Under the agreement, Penske Logistics will provide a trained labor force for the aftersales warehousing and fulfillment facility that currently supplies automotive parts, motorcycle parts, and lifestyle items for distribution to BMW Group dealerships in North America.

Penske Logistics will begin operational management of the 875,000 square foot facility starting July 1. Employment continuity will be offered to the employees at the facility. In addition, Penske has worked with both BMW NA and UAW Local 2326 leadership to reach a labor agreement for the unionized workforce at the site and a transition plan for the workers.

“We are very pleased to expand our current relationship with Penske Logistics” said Lawrence Demski, Department Head, BMW of North America Parts Logistics. “We are confident this global company will deliver world class performance at our largest parts distribution center in North America serving BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce, and BMW Motorrad.”

Penske Logistics has been working with BMW since 2007 and currently provides a variety of solutions including transportation management and supply chain management for inbound manufacturing at BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina facility.

[Source: GoPenske.com]

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General

Crevier BMW is shedding dead weight

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Since starting its Biggest Loser contest seven years ago, the dealership has shed 640 pounds. That’s how much weight employees at the Santa Ana, Calif., dealership have lost by participating in the contest.

A focus on physical fitness and employee well-being contributes to a low absentee rate, high employee retention and productivity. The store sells about 4,000 new and used vehicles annually, making it one of BMW’s top-selling U.S. dealerships.

Crevier credits its performance largely to providing employees with several health programs. A variety of health care specialists and inspirational speakers are brought in regularly. Free health clinics offer flu shots, cholesterol checks and other health tests, and there are four weight-loss contests annually.

There also are the weekly massages. And in November 2011 management added guidance resources, which give employees access to financial information, legal support, work/life solutions and confidential therapy.

Managers say the emphasis on health keeps employees loyal and productive.

“We end up the winners,” says Al Parajeckas, general manager of the store, which is owned by Penske Automotive Group Inc. “We have less absenteeism, and they have more energy. They’re happier. There’s less turnover. It all comes back to us in different ways.”

Parajeckas spent about $4,800 last year on health-related programs at the dealership, and it has paid off. The store, which sells the BMW and Mini brands, has about 275 full-time employees. Last year the turnover rate for the BMW employees was less than 10 percent. For Mini employees, it was zero. And BMW Group AG named Crevier BMW-Mini an international finalist for the “Excellence in Sales 2010” competition in the Manager of the Year category. BMW says Crevier is its most-awarded BMW dealership in North America, and it has been the top-selling BMW store in the western United States for 19 years.

One of Crevier’s most popular health programs, the Biggest Loser contest, was started on a bet made seven years ago.

Mike Weldon, finance manager at Crevier BMW, says he was “pushing maximum density” with his weight at 5 feet 11 inches tall and 230 pounds.

“My general sales manager, in jest, would say, ‘Hey you’re looking pretty plump,'” Weldon says. “He said, ‘I’ll make you a bet: If you lose 20 pounds in 3 months, I’ll take you and your wife to dinner.'”

Weldon took the bet by joining a medical weight loss clinic. He got down to 186 pounds and brought down his cholesterol level significantly.

“I felt great, nothing could get me down,” Weldon says.

Weldon has gained back only a few pounds, he says. But he inspired a weight loss contest at work that can help him shed those few pounds.

After Weldon’s success the store decided to offer a contest to encourage others to lose weight, too.

The Biggest Loser contest is held every 3 months. Typically about 30 to 40 percent of the staff participate. It kicks off in January with a health fair at the dealership, Parajeckas says.

“We have health experts take blood pressure, body fat analysis; yoga and fitness experts come in,” Parajeckas says. “All the employees participate. Then we kick off the Biggest Loser contest.”

There’s a weigh-in each Friday. The end goals are to lose the largest percentage of body fat or the most pounds, Parajeckas says.

Prizes include cash, iPads and other items, says Parajeckas.

Crevier emphasizes employee health in ways other than weight loss.

It supplements its January health fair with a smaller health fair in the fall.

Inspirational speakers, such as Mike Scioscia, manager of the Los Angeles Angels, have talked of teamwork and handling big egos, Weldon says. Paralympian April Holmes spoke to employees about overcoming adversity.

Then each Friday Crevier offers 15-minute massages that book up every week, Parajeckas says.

“We do it because employees love it. It makes them feel better, and it’s one of those things where they start to feel better about themselves, they’re happier, and they have more energy,” Parajeckas says.

Then there’s the in-house health food store called The Rev Cafe that offers food at a discounted price.

All the programs make Crevier a good place to work, and customers sense it, Weldon says.

“Customers tell us, ‘I could have bought my BMW cheaper someplace else, but I come here because of the Crevier experience,'” he says.

And that’s why Weldon says he stays.

“They care about their employees’ health and they support us and make us feel good about being there,” Weldon says.

“It’s been 11 years I’ve worked here, and I’m not going anywhere.”

Shape up!
Crevier BMW spends close to $5,000 annually on health-related activities to keep its 275 employees healthy and productive.
• 2 health fairs annually
• Free flu shots and medical testing, such as cholesterol checks
• Guest nutritionists, fitness trainers and motivational speakers
• A Biggest Loser weight-loss contest each quarter
• Friday chair massages

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General

MINI USA CELEBRATES 10 YEARS OF SUCCESS

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In 2002, the first U.S. Mini dealership opened in San Francisco. With only one model and a gallon of gas selling for an average of $1.25, there were plenty of critics who said the Mini brand didn’t stand a chance in the States.

“Mini launched in the U.S. during the time when gas was cheap and large trucks and SUVs ruled the road,” said Jim McDowell, Vice President of Mini USA in a statement. “Many thought the brand would be a one-hit wonder, and we are extremely proud that we were able to surprise some the toughest critics, and at times, even ourselves.”

Now, ten years later, Mini has six models, gas prices have more than tripled and “small car” doesn’t necessarily mean “cheap car.” It’s safe to say those naysayers in 2002 made a big mistake about the premium small car from BMW.

So, happy birthday, Mini USA, and congrats on convincing an SUV-loving American public that bigger is not always better.

MINI USA CELEBRATES 10 YEARS OF SUCCESS

March 22, 2012 Marks the Brand’s 10th Anniversary Milestone in the U.S. Market

San Francisco – March 21, 2012… Since its 2002 introduction, MINI USA has proven that there is a place for premium small cars in the American car market; and on the 10th anniversary of the brand’s launch, its leaders can confidently say that MINI has successfully established itself as the leader in this growing segment. Over the last decade, MINI has grown its vehicle portfolio from the single Hardtop body style that it launched with in 2002, to include six unique models today; it has expanded its dealer network by two-thirds; and has cultivated a loyal owner community, the likes of which few brands have the honor to call upon as their own.

“MINI launched in the U.S. during the time when gas was cheap and large trucks and SUVs ruled the road,” said Jim McDowell, Vice President MINI USA. “Many thought the brand would be a one-hit wonder, and we are extremely proud that we were able to surprise some the toughest critics, and at times, even ourselves.”

MINI challenged the notion of small meaning “cheap” by delivering a premium vehicle experience in a small package with inspired design. The brand also demonstrated to many motorists that MINI can meet their everyday driving needs. The sales success first peaked when fuel prices spiked in 2008; but another best-year sales record was set in 2011 when fuel prices were more stable, indicating that the brand had successfully come into its own and that motorists’ positive perception and acceptance of premium small cars was growing. Today, one in every five BMW Group vehicles sold in the U.S. has a MINI badge on it, making it a significant contributor to the company’s overall success.

The brand has grown to include six models, Hardtop, Convertible, Clubman, Countryman, Coupe and Roadster, each of which complements the others as part of the lineup. Each vehicle in the portfolio has been developed to have a distinct personality while still delivering on the brand’s longstanding promises regarding sporty performance, striking design, overall efficiency and value.

MINI USA’s dealer network has grown from 66 dealers in 2002 to 112 dealers today, and up to 125 outlets are expected to be open within two years. While all MINI dealers have dedicated showroom space, approximately 60 percent of the existing MINI showrooms are stand-alone facilities. All new facilities moving forward will also be free- standing, and as a direct result of the brand’s success, many dealers are investing to upgrade or move those that are not. By the end of 2014, MINI USA expects that 90 percent of its facilities in the U.S. will be exclusive operations.

MINI USA launched the first vehicle for the U.S. market in the San Francisco Bay Area 10 years ago, and today the brand commemorates its 10-year milestone at MINI of Marin, the newest dealership facility to open, which is operated by Penske Automotive Group – a longstanding partner in MINI USA’s success.

To commemorate its 10th anniversary, MINI USA has developed a media kit that is available on www.miniusanews.com, which highlights some of the feisty, engaging and memorable moments from the last 10 years. Assets include a MINI history timeline, a photo gallery and video.

MINI in the US

MINI is an independent brand of the BMW Group. In the United States, MINI USA operates as a business unit of BMW of North America, LLC, located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey and includes the marketing and sales organizations for the MINI brand. The MINI USA sales organization is represented in the U.S. through a network of 112 MINI passenger car dealers in 38 states. MINI USA began selling vehicles in the U.S. in 2002 with the introduction of the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S Hardtops. Since then, the MINI Brand in the U.S. has grown to encompass a model range of six unique vehicles.

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General

i3 Demonstrates Leadership in Sustainability

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With the production of the BMW i3, BMW is demonstrating why they are one of the top manufacturers in sustainability. The i3 is their first mass-produced electric car, and while it may seem like a somewhat late entrance into the electric vehicle market, compared to other manufacturers, BMW has taken their time to ensure they do it right.

To start with, BMW has pursued a goal to rethink and redesign an electric transport that’s smart and innovative, not just in the vehicle itself, but in the way it’s produced. For raw materials, the company uses recycled materials or materials produced with renewable energy for aluminum and plastic elements. For carbon fiber elements, they use components manufactured with hydro power.

Both the i3 and the i3 are produced in BMW’s Leipzig plant, which uses 100% renewable energy. This plant uses more natural lighting, and has eliminated the need for a steel press in order to reduce sound levels.

Beyond the assembly line, the i3 continues to make strides in reducing its environmental impact. BMW hasn’t just replaced a combustion engine with an electric motor; there’s more to the i3 than that. Its lightweight design aids in its range and performance.

Part of the i3’s success is BMW’s long history in electric vehicle development. Since 1969, when BMW introduced the electric 1602 at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, the German automotive company has been actively developing electric technology in pursuit of their “electro-mobility concept.”

Recently, BMW has conducted many field tests of different iterations of EV models in order to ensure they get it right. In the development of the ActiveE, the company studied the performance of their MINI E, a 100 percent electric two-seater. During the field tests, the studied multiple aspects of the performance, including the impact of the range of the car, how people behave when they drive it, and how they use the EV infrastructure to recharge their vehicle. The company then took the information ascertained from those tests and applied it to the i3.

The BMW i3 is due for release in 2013. BMW is also developed a plug-in hybrid, the i8, which is scheduled for release in 2014.

Source: TriplePundit

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BMW Magazine’s Fall Issue is Available!

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BMW Magazine has released its fall issue, which is available on the BMW Magazine App on iTunes. Readers can enjoy the magazine on the iPad, creating a new interactive reading experience that provides video clips, animations and links to the Internet.

Auto manufacturers are always looking for innovative ways to stay up-to-date and ahead of the game, and it’s no surprise that BMW would stay fresh by using Apple’s popular new technology to demonstrate their new cars and concepts. Engaging fans and customers using the interactive interface that the iPad offers is a great way to promote news about their brand, and will certainly satisfy BMW fans. The BMW Magazine app has won numerous awards, most recently the “red dot: best of the best” award.

In the 02|2011 issue just released, BMW fans can learn about BMW’s new concept cars, new technology available, and new models. For example, fans can read about new electric concept cars from BMW I, the new MyCityWay smartphone app that aids navigatin, or the new BMW 1 series and the new BMW M5. The magazine also features several interest pieces about Fondazione Nicola Trussardi’s art collection in Milan, the Nurburgring 24-hour race and new buildings springing up in Oslo, the capital of Norway.

According to the iTunes preview, the app is easy to use and navigate, and users can interact with it by tapping, turning, tilting and swiping through the various features and stories the magazine offers.

The BMW Magazine app is compatible with the iPad and requires iOS 4.2 or later. Those who don’t own an iPad can view the magazine online via BMW’s website.

Source: iTunes Apple

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