Dr Hamid Haqparwar talks to A&E about his career at BMW, what it’s taught him and what’s in the pipeline for the luxury car company next.
Dr Hamid Haqparwar Managing Director of BMW Group Middle East talks to A&E about his career to date
Starting in the Munich office while he was still studying, Dr Hamid Haqparwar has enjoyed many years and positions at the luxury car group BMW. Most recently, he was appointed Managing Director of BMW Group Middle East.
Speaking to A&E, he spoke about how he started out his career, what he’s learned through his work and travels and what he would tell his younger self.
A&E Interviews Dr Hamid Haqparwar
You were appointed as Managing Director of BMW Group Middle East in 2018 – tell us about your journey with BMW and what it’s taught you?
My passion for cars began quite a long time ago. My father was in the car business, so at a very young age, I would go with him to all the trade shows and watch him sell and buy cars. I guess I was maybe in the second or third grade when my passion for cars started.
My journey with BMW started when I was an intern at the BMW Headquarters in Munich. This was even before I graduated from university. During this time, I became so fascinated by the brand, the people working there and of course the amazing products that I knew immediately that I wanted to work there and be a part of this great working culture.
Since my first days at BMW, I have learnt many things, but most importantly I have learnt to be competitive and keep looking for new challenges. I push myself to stay on the edge and I try not to allow myself to rest in my comfort zone for too long.
As the Managing Director of BMW Middle East, my main goal now is to really drive BMW Group Middle East into the next phase. We would like to get the BMW and MINI brand more electrified and more future ready and also closer to the customers here in the region. Bringing customer-centricity into the company brings speed, which means we can respond to demands and fulfil them even faster.
What has working with BMW taught you about the world of luxury?
First, luxury is not about money; it is about a state of mind, an experience and it’s about having passion for something. What makes luxury so interesting is that it means different things for different people.
This is of course also built within BMW’s ethos. For example, we want to make our dealerships places customers don’t just need to go but want to go to. They should receive the ultimate experience. Because nowadays customers expect way more from a luxury brand than just the best product – they expect a premium experience too. That is our ultimate goal here in the Middle East!
But of course, we also have to talk about our cars when we talk about luxury. As you know, the industry is shifting to electric vehicles and autonomous driving but the luxurious experience will still be present in our models. Personal mobility is on the verge of some big changes. Areas such as autonomous driving, electrification and ever-expanding connectivity enable a whole new range of in-vehicle experiences. Drivers will have more freedom to decide how they wish to use their time during a journey in their vehicle. And this is also some kind of luxury.
But this is not all. The BMW Group also delivers on luxury, from a sustainable point of view. Sustainable operations are becoming an increasingly decisive factor for the future of any business. Our claim: with our products and services we are a part of the solution. This means that we are shaping the future of mobility and in this way, we create value for our company and society. For more and more people sustainability is an important mode of luxury and BMW is the leading company when it comes to this topic.
What about BMW do you feel passionate about?
Definitely the cars! You can’t be working for BMW and not have great passion for the cars. When you drive a BMW you get to experience the ultimate driving pleasure. Until recently, my company car was a BMW 8 series and from the minute you sit in this car, start the engine and begin to drive, you can’t help but feel pure excitement and a huge passion for driving a BMW.
But there is another big passion that I have. I would love to have a BMW motorbike again. I love riding a motorbike and till now I am commuting – when the weather allows it – to work by bike. It gives me a great feeling of freedom and fun!
How do you relate that to your loyal customers and audience at large?
We always ask our importers and dealers to get the customers into the car, so they experience the brand firsthand. When you sit in a BMW and start driving it you will feel right away how emotional it is and why we at BMW are so passionate about all our models. Nowadays there are so many ways to get informed about cars. Lots of customers get most of their information from social media channels. But nothing can beat a drive with the car itself.
You can have the best finance product, the best prices and the best marketing campaign, but once you sit in a BMW and drive it, only then does it become immediately clear exactly what a BMW car stands for.
You meet people all over the world – what unites BMW customers?
What unites BMW customers around the world is joy! The joy of driving, the joy of owning a BMW, the joy of being a fan of a brand that is so amazingly popular all over the world. And regardless if you are in Europe, Asia, the US or any other part of the world, you always feel that BMW owners share one thing – they are all passionate about their cars and love driving them.
What exciting projects are BMW working on right now?
It’s a very exciting time for BMW. This year, we will be welcoming 21 new and updated BMW models to the region. The BMW X5 and the BMW 8 Series were launched very recently and the new BMW 7 series also impresses with its outstanding design and new digital technologies. Many of our customers have also been waiting for the much anticipated first-ever BMW X7 and a lot more pre-orders than expected were received globally.
In general, the industry is facing a radical shift across four key areas: Electrification, Automated Driving, Connectivity and Car Sharing. Our e-mobility journey began when our bookend models – the BMW i3 and BMW i8 – were launched during the BMW I 1.0 era. Currently, our BMW I 2.0 era has already begun. In keeping with the motto, E-MOBILITY IS THE NEW NORMAL, vehicles will be able to do much more than just drive electric in the future.
How is BMW moving with the times? How is it trying to be more sustainable?
With its sustainable 360-degree approach, our BMW i3 was a pioneer in electric mobility. In 2018, we delivered more than 140,000 electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids worldwide. We are electrifying all brands and model series.
But we also make sure that we keep our environmental footprint as small as possible in our manufacturing processes. By 2020 we want all our plants worldwide to run on green electricity.
At our Munich plant, we have commissioned a new high-tech paint shop, which applies two layers of paint directly after one another without drying in between. This has reduced CO2 emissions from the paint application process by around 50 per cent and lowered power consumption by 27 per cent. And in our plant in Leipzig we have five natural-gas- powered trucks in service. These quiet giants have a range of around 600 km and avoid around 432 tonnes of CO2 per year.
But also BMW Group designers have made it their goal to become more and more sustainable. They gradually replace all plastics used in the interior with recycled or natural materials. This already includes leather, hemp and sheep’s wool, as well as fishing nets used for floor mats. Best example for this is our BMW i3 which continues to be the bestselling Premium-BEV in the compact segment worldwide since 2014.
We believe that sustainability is capable of making a positive contribution to the company’s long-term business success. Taking social and environmental responsibility for everything we do is an integral part of how we perceive ourselves as a company. We are convinced that the lasting economic success of any enterprise these days is based increasingly on acting responsibly and ensuring social acceptance. Efficient and resource-friendly production processes and state-of-the-art solutions for sustainable individual mobility offer a clear competitive advantage.
You’ve travelled the world with your job, what has this taught you? Has it changed you as a person?
Naturally it has. Every country I have been fortunate enough to work in, it really has enriched me as a person. I’ve learnt so much from people across the globe and their cultures have taught me a lot. It really is interesting to see the different ways of working from culture to culture.
When I worked in Germany everything was very process-oriented and structured which helps a lot to become efficient. In Asia, there was a big focus on creativity. People have lots of room to be creative with their work which is fantastic to see and is very inspiring for me. Being in the Middle East is the perfect melting pot between East and West. I can bank on the learnings and knowledge I’ve gained from the German market and the Asian one.
What’s a motto you live by?
Whatever you choose to do, always be passionate about your work – this is key. Remember to put your heart, soul and mind into it and try to be the best you can!
What inspires you in day to day life?
Life is an ongoing learning journey and for me, the constant learning and the ability to build on my current experiences and enrich them is what inspires me. And when it comes to work life, I am of course extremely passionate about BMW and inspired by the brand. I started there at quite a young age and I have learnt so much along this very exciting journey. When you combine that with the fact that BMW is always at the forefront of innovation, I am constantly learning and evolving and finding new ways to implement this knowledge.
What is the most impactful book you’ve ever read?
Definitely A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. I read it for the first time quite a while ago, but I still find it so impactful. It puts the reader and his/her personality and ego in perspective towards all surroundings. The book really evaluates what influence every person has. This book was hugely impactful for me.
What would you tell your younger self?
I would tell my younger self: “Make better use of your time!” Take time to spend with your family and always take time to spend with yourself. Never waste time. Always try to be the best at what you do and find the right work/life balance.
How would you like the world to remember you?
I would like the world to remember me as somebody who never gives up and somebody who is excited to take on new challenges. Someone who always looks for adventure – not only on a personal level but in my working life too. And someone who isn’t afraid of taking risks and always goes that extra mile.
See more at bmw-me.com/en.