Crashing Up To Series Production

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Crashing Up To Series Production
Crashing Up To Series Production

Video: Crashing Up To Series Production

Video: Crashing Up To Series Production
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The accessories are taken for granted when buying a vehicle. The development and production of the parts must be based on the same strict standards as the rest of the car.

By Thomas Flehmer

The price list including accessories for the new BMW 2 Series Grand Tourer is 58 pages thick. For the accessories department of the Munich-based car manufacturer, a new field of activity opened up with the Active Tourer family van, which has been available since last year and which will soon be available as a seven-seater. “We sometimes have to be a little crazy and emotional in order to bring normal ideas into the car later,” says Matthias Babbel in an interview with

New experiences with BMW family van

What sounds very playful at first and is taken for granted in everyday vehicle use is tough work in the background, which is also always under cost pressure before something is created. And the product line manager for accessories has with its two divisions and a total of about 90 employees find solutions - like now for the segment of family vans that were not previously offered by BMW. "We create a catalog of requirements for series production and then accompany the production process," says Babbel, who joined the Munich-based company as a student trainee in 2003 and has never let go of the subject of accessories since then.

For example, a completely new bike rack was developed for the Grand Tourer that can be mounted on a type of trailer hitch at the rear of the vehicle. Other manufacturers have that too, but it was new territory for BMW's accessory engineers.

Numerous crash tests before series production

The innovations such as a GoPro holder for the interior are additional gadgets, which then further extend the list. Otherwise, the accessories departments are still responsible for the functionality of the vehicle, special body accessories such as spoilers, tuning or wheels and tires, which must be tailored to the respective vehicle. Or a flap silencer for the M-Performance that produces an even sportier sound.

“We start working on the respective model three years before the start of production,” says Babbel. This not only refers to the actual manufacture of the accessories, the parts also have to be crashed. A very tricky situation for the Eisleben native. He has to submit the worst case - in other words: how many vehicles are required so that it can later be proven beyond doubt that the accessories will not fly around in the vehicle in the event of an accident and pose a danger to the occupants. “You underestimate what can happen in a crash. The tests cost a lot because we need a lot of vehicles to crash,”says Babbel.

Up to two years of development

By then, a year and a half to two years of development have already passed. Time that can be used for other models. Because, as in the case of the bicycle rack, the accessories will later also be used for other models. The wearer does not move into the 6 series, but "with the X1 and various mini models", according to Babbel, the frame will be used later. So that the price lists and accessories also grow for these models.