BMW calls it “cross fertilization”, however we like to use the term “brand shifting” in order to describe a company famous for one type of consumer product, in this case automobiles, using their brand power to help sell another unrelated product (airplanes). BWM is able to do this and do it well.
BMW has done some similar “brand shifting” with clothing, bicycles, luggage and even headphones. BMW has now turned their minimalistic gaze on the private jet industry. Collaborating with Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer, BMW DesignworksUSA brings us the Phenom 100 and 300. A mostly prototypical jet with one unique feature, a BMW inspired interior. Not that BMW interiors have ever been described as “inspired”, but this interior does a fine job of classing up a space that usually sees luxury arrive in the form of tacky limousine style interiors. Oddly, seat belts were not a design consideration for a company enjoying a flawless auto safety record.
BMW Group DesignworksUSA is, according to Fast Company, currently the ‘most innovative company in design’ and one of ‘the most innovative companies for 2010’. It took California car culture, mashed it up with German precision and engineering, and let the result loose on everything from yachts to mobile telephones. And with innovation’s stock so high, Laurenz Schaffer, President of DesignworksUSA, is the man with the Midas touch.