Case | HBS Case Collection | November 1998 (Revised November 2001)

BMW AG: The Digital Car Project (A)

by Stefan H. Thomke and Ashok Nimgade

Abstract

Describes how the German automotive firm BMW is trying to reduce its development time by half with the aid of computer-aided technologies. To leverage these technologies fully in the very competitive automotive industry, BMW is faced with the challenge of changing its processes and organization, gradually building new development capabilities. This tension between the old and the new is played out in BMW's design area, which has historically been responsible for much of BMW's strategic product positioning. Focuses on: 1) managing automotive development, with an emphasis on exterior styling; 2) new computer-aided technologies and their potential impact on development performance; and 3) the organizational and process changes required to gradually build a firm's development capability.

Keywords: Change; Competency and Skills; Management; Time Management; Product Positioning; Product Development; Business Processes; Performance; Problems and Challenges; Technology; Auto Industry;

Citation:

Thomke, Stefan H., and Ashok Nimgade. "BMW AG: The Digital Car Project (A)." Harvard Business School Case 699-044, November 1998. (Revised November 2001.)