NA new round of reflection
“China has become the second hometown for BMW and myself.” The changes Kastner has made over the years are obvious to see. But what’s more remarkable is the transformation BMW has undergone.
After a century of developments, BMW today is more than a car company, who’s on the transitioning way to become a leading provider of premium mobility and service.
“I believe we must think out of the box.” It’s not easy for an elephant to turn around, needless to say the more and more newcomers. These are what keep Kastner meditating on.
The arrival of the group of newcomers has been pushing the boundaries. The trend has made Kastner determined to build up an effortless mobility eco-system.
However for Kastner, the immediate challenges come from Mercedes-Benz and Audi, the two long-term players with BMW in both Chinese and global market. Audi’s dispute with its dealers in China last year, to a large extent, impeded its leadership in the local market. The sales upsurge of localized cars made Mercedes-Benz a double-winner in China and worldwide. BMW led monthly sales in April this year though, as many industry insiders said, BMW performed a bit too steady.
What BMW pursues are more than sales volume. Kastner has reiterated on many occasions not to overly interpret the market ranking. His almost 20 years’ industry experience has made him more acute to pressure and risks. The competition between the top three German car makers has been spiraling. An inevitable industry reshuffle has come underway. To secure BMW’s position in the battle, Kastner has long before made his strategic plan.
“Currently BMW localized models account for about 63%-65% of total sales.” Kastner admits BMW has to catch up to bring the percentage to over 70%. The all-new BMW 5 Series launched days ago on June 23rd and the BMW X3 to be localized both manifest the resolution for Kastner and BMW.
Talents are an even larger advantage than products for BMW. Since Michael Liu has become BMW China’s first Chinese President, more and more Chinese have assumed management responsibility. Nowadays, Head of Sales in the five regions and the Director of the New Plant Dadong are all Chinese. They know both BMW’s philosophy and local culture, which gives intangible pressure to Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
“How do you comment Brilliance Automotive? If BMW will consider a new partnership?” such questions are familiar enough to Kastner. “Strong and successful”, the two words are how he describes the partnership over past years. “If everything is fine, why should you change it?” [detail]
Olaf Kastner
Mr. Olaf Kastner graduated from the University of Hamburg with a master degree. He stayed on and took a position as Junior Lecturer at Department for Banking and Insurance from 1981 to 1985. Before joining BMW in 1998, he served in management positions at different levels with AXA Insurance Group subsidiaries in Germany & Ireland. Mr. Kastner held the position as Managing Director of Bavaria Wirtschaftsagentur GmbH, a subsidiary of BMW Group, and as the Member of the Financial Services Executive Committee, and took the position of Finance Director at BMW UK in 2006. From 2009 to 2015, Mr. Kastner was the President & CEO of the BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd. in China. As of December 2015, he has been the President & CEO of BMW Group Region China.


a process of image recording using professional equipment. This is a photography application science brought by the development of traditional photography technology. A unique filming system has taken shape in practice based on photo-optics photochemistry and electronic technology.
A head start in the race to future
The arrival of mobile Internet and the rise of social media have revolutionized users’ demands and communication environment for auto-makers. As President & CEO of BMW China, Kastner has to know how to tell a good story to Chinese consumers.
“Art inspires human for extraordinary visions and ideas.” In the hustle-and-bustle era today, Kastner has chosen to tell BMW’s story in China in an art way. Well known that number 18 is favored by most Chinese, BMW naturally commissioned a Chinese artist to create the 18th BMW Art Car.
The innovative art installation makes the art car more than an art piece, but a digitalized means to engage audiences. The 18th BMW Art Car opens BMW Art Cars 2.0 era - what Kastner may not have expected somehow.
In contrast to the premium car market in China years ago, the market today has entered a new competition age. Green mobility, intelligent connectivity and mobile driving have all been accelerating. For car-makers, both traditional and emerging, an early start in this race secures the leadership. BMW’s development in China is bound to undergo a fundamental change.
As early as 10 years ago, BMW started the discussion on how to respond to the severe challenges incurred by changes in the industry. New energy vehicle was believed to be the development direction. Distinguished from the conservative approaches taken by other competitors, “born to be electric” BMW vows to establish its leadership in the filed across the spectrum from product, charging infrastructure to services. [detail]
Olaf Kastner Olaf Kastner


Combining and balancing artificial factors in skills, will, imagination and experience to crystalize and display aesthetic experience, profound feelings, or human experience as individuals or groups through the creation of articles, environment, images, motions or audios.
  • 1

    Tencent Auto : In the last 42 years, BMW has invited 19 artists who have distinctive personalities to create BMW Art Cars. What’s the original intention and what values has it contributed to make BMW brand more powerful?

    Mr. Olaf Kastner : BMW Art Car Collection is the nucleus of BMW cultural engagement. Like many great things in the world,finding ideas of some people who are very passionate. The artists are always given the full freedom and flexibility to create. It has given us a visibility to the society far beyond branding.
  • 2

    Tencent Auto :What kind of legacy BMW will carry forward and what it will forgo while on the way to become the leading provider of premium mobility and service?

    Mr. Olaf Kastner : It’s our commitment to keep the core values and take responsibilities. Meanwhile, I’m convinced that we have to learn to think out of the box.
  • 3

    Tencent Auto : How do you see the future development of new energy vehicles?

    Mr. Olaf Kastner : I think that we will see at certain points of time a leap jump in mega cities in China. We are prepared for the moment to come.
  • 4

    Tencent Auto : For the first four months this year,the ranking of premium cars sales has changed in China. What’s your comment on the change?

    Mr. Olaf Kastner : The car industry is not just about the sales volume. It’s also about customer satisfaction, sustainability and innovation. We judge on the success of a company and a brand over time. The ranking might change quickly and we shouldn't’ get hooked onto that too much.


Core values







  • Olaf Kastner
  • Olaf Kastner
  • Olaf Kastner
  • Olaf Kastner
Mr. Olaf Kastner as far as I know is someone who’s genteel and elegant, always wearing a smile that impresses. Whenever at work, he’s admirably serious.  
  On the day of the interview, he arrived earlier specially to see the setup and learn the interview process, even discussed with photographer over the details to make sure everything is perfectly prepared.
  “This is Mr. Olaf Kastner who he is, always meticulous and down into details”, a BMW staff told me. As the President and CEO of BMW Group Region China though, Mr. Kastner chooses to do things himself and do them to the best he can.
  Since his arrival in China in 2009, Mr. Kastner has been moving on with BMW. What he considers now is how to continue BMW’s success into the next 100 years. Looking at his confident smile, I know he’s well prepared.
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