FOR THE ROAD: A conversation with BMW’s International Specialist Sales Division (ISSD)
Edward Dick, Diplomatic & Export Sales
After graduating in Automotive Design and Technology in 2007, Edward started at BMW Park Lane on the graduate programme, working at MINI from 2009-13, when he joined BMW ISSD.
Faisal Janjua, Diplomatic & Export Sales
Faisal has been with the BMW Group at Park Lane since 2009, where he started as a Retail Manager for MINI.
Andrew J Sabey, Diplomatic & Export Sales
Andrew’s first job was working at the British Embassy in Saudi Arabia in the late 1980s. Working in the motor trade ever since, he has worked for BMW for the past eight years, joining BMW ISSD three years ago.
What three BMW cars would you recommend to an Embassy or High Commission?
Edward: The brand new 7 Series launched last year has various different engine options depending on the embassy’s requirements. Secondly, the brand new 5 Series with all the latest technology arrives on 11 February 2017. This is an exceptional car with the right image and fits most embassy requirements. The third car is the prestigious X5, which can be a seven seater. We have the ability to put a flagpole on all of these models.
What’s your favourite diplomatic deal of the moment?
Edward: We have new diplomat finance offers four times a year. We tailor-make these for the individual needs of the mission, diplomats and local staff. For example, as time-frame can be key, we even offer 12 or 18 month agreements. The deals are getting better and better as time goes on.
Faisal: We offer the same diplomatic discount to everyone, no matter what country you are from. I think the best deal of the moment for a personal diplomatic car is the MINI.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BMW MODEL?
Faisal: I’ve just collected my BMW 430 convertible. I’m looking forward to Spring!
Edward: The new 5 Series available in February 2017. An elegant saloon car, the 5 Series is always the leader in its class.
Andrew: The 3 Series Touring that I have at home is perfect for my family and dogs etc. But if I could have anything I wanted, it would be a BMW X5.
What are the most exciting aspects of your work?
Edward: We do a lot of international work, so we can build right- and left-hand drive cars, and country specific cars, practically world-wide. We can even provide BMW armoured vehicles.
Faisal: If you’re a diplomat with six months left in London before you start at your next posting, you can come to our showroom and order a country specific car with a diplomatic discount, and have it delivered back home.
Andrew: The most exciting thing for me is dealing with such an interesting group of people that I would never normally meet – from junior diplomats to members of royal families – all in one day.
What is it about BMW diplomatic service that sets the brand apart from the others?
Edward: The BMW diplomatic sales team has been here for over 20 years. We have a dedicated team of five people just for diplomatic sales. Our location is within walking distance to so many embassies and high commissions. At our service centre in Battersea, we have two members of staff who specifically look after diplomatic customers. We process all the registration paperwork for the customer too.
Andrew: The extensive range of cars we have on offer means that we can build cars for delivery all over the world. We can offer finance packages for private diplomatic cars as well as the official embassy cars. The BMW Group has a good reputation with the missions in London, and so we get a lot of leaving diplomats recommending us to incoming diplomats, which is a great sign.
How can BMW help diplomats contribute towards a more carbon-free existence?
Faisal: We have just taken delivery of our hybrid 7 Series, which is one of the cleanest prestige limousine cars available (also congestion charge exempt). Diplomats can still have a large car but have low emissions and be as environmentally friendly as possible.
Andrew: BMW have always led the way in reducing CO2 emissions. We sell a range of electric cars, and there is ongoing development for hydrogen cars. This is something BMW takes very seriously. Furthermore, our cars are built with more and more environmentally friendly materials.
Edward: Unlike other manufacturers, we have our own separate i-department and showroom allocated to purely electric cars. BMW’s Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) range has been going for years and is constantly growing. Other manufacturers have tended to take an existing car and alter it. BMW started the i-brand from scratch. We have built electric cars and the technologies have then filtered through to our existing cars. We are ahead of the game.
How does Germany’s reputation for engineering excellence manifest itself in the BMW brand?
Edward: With a motorsports and F1 background, BMW has racing pedigree. The M Division creates high performance cars and epitomises luxury. Again, all this knowledge and expertise is shown throughout our range.
Faisal: BMW Group have made sure that the technology is brilliant, and so it is up to us to ensure that the customer experience is just as good. Dr Ian Robertson, a member of our board of directors, sent out a letter recently explaining just how important the diplomatic community is to the BMW Group as a whole. From the very top in Munich, diplomatic sales has been made a priority. We develop and use the latest technology throughout the range and enjoy explaining the features and benefits to our customers. We take pride in seeing world leaders when they arrive at international summits in our cars, and the diplomatic community are crucial to this.
What do you think it is about MINI that appeals to such an international audience?
Faisal: London is such a cosmopolitan city, but while people are posted here, they want to drive a quintessentially British car, an iconic British brand. MINI shares a lot of technology from the BMW brand. MINI first started painting their roofs different colours (to identify individual cars) for rally racing in the 1950s. This and other features have been so successful that many other manufacturers are copying the model.
What will the look and feel of an Ambassador’s car be like in the future?
Edward: I’ll go back to the 7 and 5 Series cars, which are so elegant. Essential features will be how customisable the cars are, including the infotainment options on offer. Right now, the 7 series has an amazing entertainment package and offers a ‘business class-like’ lounge (or mobile office) with luxurious surroundings and the latest technologies.
If you have any questions about BMW, MINI and BMWi, or would like to book an appointment, contact the BMW ISSD team: T: +44 (0)20 7514 3555 E: firstname.lastname@example.org