BMW x Farnborough Airport

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Posted on
May 10, 2024
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Farnborough Airport caught up with James Morrison, Head of Business Development at BMW UK, to discuss the BMW x Farnborough Airport brand partnership.

Tell us a little about yourself and your career background

Since joining BMW UK as a graduate in 2001, I’ve had the opportunity of steering several key areas of our business. These roles included time in Product Management, introducing the likes of some really exciting products like the 1 Series M Coupe and 4.0-litre V8 M3 Saloon into the UK market, as well as time Corporate Sales and Marketing. My journey also includes time as a Regional Manager responsible for all MINI retailers in London and leading Marketing Strategy for BMW. Before my current role, I was in charge of BMW’s National Events and Partnerships. Last year, in a newly created role, I became responsible for developing BMW’s range of Luxury Class models in the UK market.

What interested BMW in partnering with Farnborough Airport?

The opportunity to partner with Farnborough Airport is one we couldn’t miss because the on-site traveller experience aligns perfectly with our vehicles in the luxury space. This collaboration allows us to showcase the BMW 7 Series to an important audience, while also supporting the airport to further enhance its experience with even more elegance and sophistication.

With both organisations based in Farnborough, this collaboration creates a special bond and opens possibilities for creating exclusive experiences for our customers in future. It’s these local collaborations that enrich our brands and enable us to offer something truly special in the both the luxury automotive and aviation sectors.

What is the history and inspiration behind the design of the i7?

The BMW 7 Series, since its inception in 1977, has always been at the forefront of automotive innovation. Each generation has consistently pioneered new luxury features and technologies, not only setting new benchmarks in its class but also for the wider automotive industry full stop. From introducing satellite navigation to vehicles in Europe and in-car TVs in the third generation to the groundbreaking iDrive system in the fourth, each iteration has pushed the boundaries further. The first all-electric 7 Series, the BMW i7, continues this legacy, leading the way in design and technology.

What makes the latest 7 Series different from other vehicles on the market?

The latest seventh generation 7 Series stands out with its unmatched choice of fully electric or a plug-in hybrid powertrain option - it’s the first model to offer both options in this segment. This 7 Series also introduces new and innovative technologies not seen before in our industry. The rear-seats are home to these unprecedented luxury features, including a 32-inch, 8k LED Theatre Screen with built-in Amazon Fire TV that lowers from the ceiling for a new kind of in-car entertainment experience. There are also Bowers & Wilkins surround sound and individual LED screens positioned on each rear passenger door, for controlling features such as heated rear massage seats, climate, and audio functions, providing an immersive and personalised journey.

What are BMW’s future sustainability plans and goals?

BMW has always pioneered new technologies and recognised the importance of sustainability. Our first electric BMW was the 1602e which premiered in 1972 at the Munich Olympics. In 1973, the company became the first in the automotive sector to appoint an environmental officer. In the 80s during the time of a fuel crisis and high fuel prices, BMW created a more efficient engine for the 5 Series called the 525e. Later in the 00s, ‘EfficientDynamics’ was the umbrella terms for numerous technologies designed to reduce emissions and fuel consumption – these technologies were offered as standard on every BMW.

In 2013, the BMW i sub-brand and our first electric car – and one of the first from a mainstream car maker - the BMW i3, was launched. Now with the BMW i7, we see the first car in this class of vehicle to be fully electric.

We will continue to pioneer innovative technologies, lightweight materials and more efficient manufacturing processes, as we develop our next-generation vehicles. The BMW i Vision Circular, revealed in 2021, demonstrates the BMW Group’s commitment to becoming the most sustainable manufacturer for individual premium mobility. Our next-generation BMW Neue Klasse vehicles, the first of which is set to launch in 2025, will feature up to 25 percent improved efficiency and up to 30 percent more electric range than like-for-like models today. You can also expect to see many new kinds of materials and design techniques to further lower the environmental impact of our vehicles. We can’t wait to reveal these exciting models and new innovations to our customers in the months ahead.

Monday 18th March marked the launch of the unique four-week partnership between Farnborough Airport and BMW, with the brand's state-of-the-art all electric i7 chauffeuring guests to and from their aircraft, adding a touch of sophistication to the seamless customer journey from arrival to departure. The BMW i7 has also taken centre stage on approach to the Airport terminal in a high-impact display.