From BMW Press Release: Munich. The BMW Clubs International Council will enter 2014 with a new Executive Board. David de Bruyn from South Africa has been voted the new Chairman of the International Council, the worldwide umbrella organization of the official BMW Clubs. He succeeds Ian Branston of Australia, who has held the post for the past ten years. In the latest issue of the bilingual (German/English) club magazine “BMW Clubs’ World”, which is distributed on the internet—see www.bmw-clubs-international.com—the new Chairman has introduced himself to BMW enthusiasts all over the world.
With more than 200,000 members from all continents featuring roads, the official BMW Clubs represented in the International Council form an unusually large and dynamic community of car and motorcycle owners. In this forum, fans of classic and modern cars and motorcycles from 54 countries are able to share their enthusiasm with other aficionados of BMW-style driving and riding pleasure. As the global umbrella organization, the BMW Clubs International Council promotes both personal contacts and “shop talk” across cultures and continents. Regular joint events and trips to destinations throughout the world are a sign that the BMW clubs are a thriving and lively community. Among the standout events of the year now drawing to a close was the clubs’ attendance at the BMW Motorrad Days.
Common to all the 700 or so clubs worldwide are a high degree of dedication and a strong emotional attachment to the BMW brand, along with a passion for the driving enjoyment offered by BMW cars and motorcycles. The specialist BMW Classic and Type Clubs, meanwhile, are the natural home for fans who also have a shared interest in the preservation of classic vehicles. The clubs operate autonomously and independently of the BMW Group, but their global links allow them to organize attractive joint activities and promote lively personal contacts, discussion and technical exchange. The clubs’ interests are also represented and coordinated by national and regional umbrella organizations. At the annual Council Meeting, delegates from these umbrella groups around the world gather to share news, views and information, to plan joint activities and to take part in elections to the Council Board. They also vote on awards, which are presented to clubs and club members for outstanding achievements. At the same time, a major focus of this regularly scheduled international meeting is the opportunity to provide feedback about relations between the clubs and representatives of BMW in the different countries.
The present Council Board, which heads the global umbrella organization, is made up of representatives for all three vehicle types – cars, motorcycles and classic vehicles. The newly elected Chairman David de Bruyn previously chaired the BMW Club Africa umbrella organization. In this capacity, and as spokesman of the international BMW Motorcycle Club, he has been a member of the International Council since 2006. He is supported by Vice Chairmen Prof. Dr Philip C. Abrami from Canada, Dr Bernhard Knöchlein from Germany and Matz Rosenquist from Sweden, who is new to the Council Board.
David de Bruyn was born in 1960 and lives in the Pretoria area. Married with four children, he is qualifications in electrical engineering and management and works at a multi-national company as an IT manager in Johannesburg. He believes that one of the key future challenges in strengthening the BMW community will be to bring the club up to speed in the use of social media. “In the words of Bob Dylan, ‘the times they are a-changing’, and the clubs must realign themselves to face these challenges,” he says.
De Bruyn is already looking forward to the opportunities his new position will provide to get to know many more members and to work with them on new activities. At the same time he will not be losing touch with his predecessor. Ian Branston, who was born in Britain but moved to Australia with his family as a child, has now moved on once again, to put down new roots in the USA, where he will be taking on a new role in the BMW Car Club of America. The world’s biggest BMW car club, this organization lists around 70,000 members. “My time as Council Chairman was filled with unforgettable moments,” says 58-year-old Branston. “I have lots of memories both of the events themselves and of the journeys to get to them!”
Thanks to the global network and organizational support provided by the BMW Clubs International Office, communication between the clubs and the BMW Group has become ever more dynamic in recent years. Amongst other things, the BMW Clubs International Office helps with the organization of club events and anniversary events. Often these feature visits to BMW facilities such as the BMW Museum or BMW plants.
Most recently, for example, the anniversary events “75 years of the BMW 328” and “25 years of the BMW Z1” brought club members from all over the world to Munich. Members also receive special reductions on tickets to motor sport events such as the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) series. However, it’s always a two-way street, as club members regularly loan out their classic vehicles for display by the BMW Group at product shows and trade fairs. For many years, BMW’s presentation at the world’s largest classic car event, Techno Classica in Essen, has been a joint collaboration between the BMW Clubs and BMW Classic. This year, for example, 21 out of 23 production vehicles exhibited on the BMW stand were supplied by the BMW Clubs.
“We believe that the work the BMW Clubs do is invaluable, above all because they act as perfect multipliers for the values of our brand and make convincing ambassadors for BMW driving and riding pleasure,” says Ulrich Knieps, Head of BMW Group Classic. “Our contacts with the club members provide us with valuable feedback from customers who are both loyal and critical. And when it comes to classic vehicles in particular, we benefit time after time from the specialist knowledge of club members across the globe.”
Looking ahead to 2014, the diary is already filling up with attractive events – not just for the members of the new Council Board but for all club members. The “News & Events” section of the BMW Clubs International Council website at www.bmw-clubs-international.com provides an overview. The next Council Meeting, for delegates from across the world, is scheduled for the end of September 2014 and will be held in Japan.