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    • BMW losing its main executives that are enthusiasts? BMW M VP Albert Biermann leaves for Hyundai

      Another day another BMW executive leaves. Unfortunately, the executives that have been leaving are the ones who were the most vocal about producing enthusiast friendly products. You know, actually making cars that are supposed to be the Ultimate Driving Machine.

      Albert Biermann is the latest BMW casualty and he is a big one considering he was the vice president of the M division. He is the guy who said he wanted the M division to produce an M7 to rival the Mercedes S63/S65 AMG. He is also the guy who publicly admitted the new turbo BMW motors simply do not match the response of the previous naturally aspirated motors.

      He also kept the idea of an E89 Z4M alive stating it hurt not having one in the lineup. Perhaps the biggest and most important development was that he was the one pushing hard for an M version of the i8 despite the other execs saying that 'M' and 'i' must be kept separate.

      BMW is clearly having an internal power struggle and identity crisis. You have the head of BMW Norbert Reithofer saying there should be no i8M or M8 and the head of BMW M saying they should have one. All we know is the bean counters keep winning and the enthusiasts keep leaving BMW.

      So after three decades at BMW Biermann is gone for Hyundai of all places. If Hyundai is more inclined to produce performance cars than BMW something is very, very wrong.



      Hyundai Motor Group appoints Albert Biermann as
      Head of Vehicle Test & High Performance Development

      • Biermann’s last role was as Vice President Engineering at BMW M Automobiles, responsible for dynamics of acclaimed road and race cars
      • Takes on responsibility for new high performance vehicles and technologies
      • Appointment is part of a drive to develop Hyundai and Kia vehicles that lead their segments for rewarding driving dynamics

      December 22, 2014 - Hyundai Motor Group has appointed Albert Biermann as its new Head of Vehicle Test & High Performance Development.

      Based at the company’s R&D Center in Namyang, Korea, Mr. Biermann will lead the development of new high performance Hyundai and Kia models, as well as oversee engineering projects relating to ride and handling, safety, reliability, and the mitigation of NVH (noise, vibration and harshness).


      His appointment will accelerate the roll-out of new high-performance vehicles and technologies, as well as help to improve the dynamic capabilities of cars across the range. The company intends to become a technical leader in ride and handling, producing vehicles that lead their respective segments for driver engagement. Hyundai Motor’s involvement in the World Rally Championship (WRC) should also benefit, thanks to increased sharing of performance technologies and insights between engineering programmes for the road and rally stage.


      Mr. Biermann, 57 years old, joins Hyundai Motor Group from 1 April 2015 and brings over 30 years of experience in the development of high-performance vehicles, most recently in his current role as Vice President Engineering BMW M Automobiles and BMW Individual at BMW M GmbH, Germany, a position he has held since 2008. He first joined BMW in 1983 and has played a key part in honing the performance and dynamics of some of the marque’s most acclaimed road and race cars.


      Biermann said, “I couldn’t be more excited to join Hyundai Motor Group. It is a company I have watched closely as it has taken on its key competitors and quickly established a strong customer base in Europe. 2015 is a key year for the brand with the launch of many all-new models and the start of its second season in WRC, so I am really looking forward to the challenge.”


      Woong Chul Yang, Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Company and Head of Hyundai-Kia R&D Center, added, “This is a senior engineering appointment and an important part of our effort to further optimize the dynamics of our vehicles, providing even greater rewards for keen drivers. Mr. Biermann has unrivalled credentials in this field and his expertise and experience will help us bring forward the development of new Hyundai and Kia cars that are great to drive, as well as speed the transfer of innovative technologies and insights between our road-car and motorsport engineering teams.”


      Earlier in 2014 Hyundai Motor opened its brand new European Test Centre at the Nürburgring in Germany, allowing the company to test more effectively and accurately the reliability and drivability of new vehicles.

      This article was originally published in forum thread: BMW losing its main executives that are enthusiasts? BMW M VP Albert Biermann leaves for Hyundai started by Sticky View original post
      Comments 14 Comments
      1. bobS's Avatar
        bobS -
        He is also responsible for putting turbo motors in the M cars or at lease part of that team that decided that path.... rather than stick to the formula like GM is doing with the corvette. See ya! Lets get some fresh blood in BMW and keep them ahead of the pack.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by bobS Click here to enlarge
        He is also responsible for putting turbo motors in the M cars or at lease part of that team that decided that path.... rather than stick to the formula like GM is doing with the corvette. See ya! Lets get some fresh blood in BMW and keep them ahead of the pack.
        It was not the VP of M's decision to go turbo throughout the BMW lineup. He did what he could with what he was given to work with.

        You aren't going to replace him with anyone who will come out and actually say things like not having a Z4M is a mistake or that the turbo motors just aren't as responsive. BMW is losing anybody who thinks for themselves and does not just tow the company line 24/7.
      1. inlineS54B32's Avatar
        inlineS54B32 -
        I am curious what ends up happening with the M division as time goes on. I think it's concerning that they are losing what I would consider serious talent... In other words, the people who have seen what has gone on in the past/what has worked/what hasn't - and most importantly "what the letter M means" to both people outside the company and inside over the last couple decades.

        As mentioned above in the article, there obviously is an internal power struggle... I wonder what is going on in the back office, and would love to be a fly on the wall, that's for sure.

        I really wish they wouldn't put 100% of their focus into FI - especially in the M division. I think what BMW has done in the past with their engines was brilliant/special - and to be honest, think it had a lot to do with making cars like the M3 "common benchmarks" to all others.

        I think when you have a formula that works, you should improve on it - but that's probably why I am not a C-level at BMW. I guess making changes is sometimes good (or even required) - so again, am curious how it all plays out.

        I've said it before, but still feel giving consumers an option would make the most sense for the M division (e.g. Porsche 911/911 Turbo).
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Guy was there for three decades and is now at Hyundai. It's just odd what is going on at BMW.
      1. ezec63's Avatar
        ezec63 -
        I agree absolutely that this shows an internal struggle was happening to keep M true to its roots but they finally gave up since they were being silenced and drown out by the accountants. I don't see how anybody can see this as a good thing the guy was there for almost 30 years and was part of the original team. Look at what is happening across town at AMG they had a guy that grew in there system from a young age and was an ex endurance racer they saw he had a passion for performance and to the company so they rewarded him with a job as head of the company. BMW should be promoting this guy for being a gear head and a loyal employee for 30 years instead of letting him run off to Hyundai of all places.
      1. BlackJetE90OC's Avatar
        BlackJetE90OC -
        I wouldn't be surprised to see some quality driver focused Hyundai's come in the next 5-6 years. Their cars are not that bad to begin with. A lot of value for the money.

        Biermann has so much knowledge to share. Maybe Hyundai told him he has freedom to design and create what ever he wants. Hyundai has the cash too.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        He essentially gets to shape the Hyundai performance division whereas at BMW he kept being told what he couldn't do.
      1. bobS's Avatar
        bobS -
        How do we know BMW doesn't have some hot shot younger person with new ideas taking this guy's place?

        My old boss used to tell me "The graveyard is full of irreplaceable people". He's right, change is sometimes good although everyone immediately thinks its bad.
      1. quattr0's Avatar
        quattr0 -
        I'll take a G4 (Genesis4) please ;-)

        Seriously that's fscked up. One left for GM and another left for Hyundai...Houston we have a problem!
      1. whoosh's Avatar
        whoosh -
        This probably has much more to do with Herr Biermann approaching the mandatory 60 years old retirement age for BMW execs than it does any huge shift in direction or power struggle within M division.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by bobS Click here to enlarge
        How do we know BMW doesn't have some hot shot younger person with new ideas taking this guy's place?

        My old boss used to tell me "The graveyard is full of irreplaceable people". He's right, change is sometimes good although everyone immediately thinks its bad.
        Because this is not just one exec leaving and BMW has lost many enthusiast voices...
      1. Kommodore's Avatar
        Kommodore -
        Honestly I hope Hyundai and GM both start wiping the floor with BMW. If they want to become the German Toyota as you say, then $#@! em. They deserve to die. At the very least, the competition will produce some amazing vehicles.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Kommodore Click here to enlarge
        Honestly I hope Hyundai and GM both start wiping the floor with BMW. If they want to become the German Toyota as you say, then $#@! em. They deserve to die. At the very least, the competition will produce some amazing vehicles.
        This is the right attitude. If all they want is sales they can get from everyone else other than the enthusiasts.
      1. zeenon53's Avatar
        zeenon53 -
        After previously owning a Hyundai, i'm happy to see this. I really like the direction they are going.