Onwards of April 1, BMW executive Bernd Körber took over as the new head of the German manufacturer’s British brand, Mini.
Körber, 44, succeeds Sebastian Mackensen who has been appointed to head BMW Group Sales in Germany, the automakers said in a statement. Körber takes charge as Mini’s new head at a crucial time when it readies its electrification plans with the launch of the first full-electric Mini, the Cooper SE, next year. The EV, as we have been told, will be built at Mini’s home plant in Oxford, England.
Körber, 44, succeeds Sebastian Mackensen who has been appointed to head BMW Group Sales in Germany.
“Bernd Körber is both experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to the MINI brand,” said Pieter Nota, BMW AG Management Board Member for Customer, Brands, and Sales. “I’m looking forward to working with him as we drive MINI towards an electric, dynamic and urban future.”
In addition to this, BMW also plans to build electric cars in China in a joint venture with Great Wall Motor. Körber served in brand management of Mini back in 2003 and held a number of roles in marketing planning and product management. In 2010, Körber moved to BMW and was handed over the responsibility of the product portfolio strategy team before moving to China, where he was responsible for the marque’s business development.
Mini is currently preparing the launch of the first full-electric Mini, the Cooper SE, next year.
This news comes amid significant disruptions in the British automotive space as it inches closer to Brexit. The German automaker which builds just over 15 percent of Britain’s 1.5 million cars, shifted its annual summertime shutdown of four weeks to April to “minimize the risk of any possible short-term parts-supply disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit.” On the other hand, Peugeot is expected to halt operation in its British plant for two weeks.
Britain’s exit from the EU, which was earlier scheduled on March 29, has been pushed further to at least April 22 or potentially much later, ruining a few of the contingency plans of automakers. Such shutdowns are planned months in prior so employee holidays can be scheduled and suppliers can adjust volumes, making them difficult to be move. “This is what our company and our workforce have planned for over many months and it is fixed into our business planning,” said a BMW spokesman.