BMW 6 Series Convertible and Coupé

Inspired by a passion for aesthetics and dynamics

Involvement in the concept phase of the development process for the latest BMW 6 Series models represented a challenge for Bertrandt Munich. We were the first service provider to be commissioned to develop several interior modules, which in the past had always been allocated individually to different suppliers. The process of developing the concept for the vehicle interior covered both the coupé and the convertible.

Interior fittings

Bertrandt acted as the central contact for all the interfaces and for the vehicle integration process. The Munich team also took responsibility for package investigations and concept designs, for evaluating possible solutions and for assessing the environment and the detail concepts at a component level. Other tasks included creating package specifications for the body-in-white, supporting the design process from a technical perspective and positioning and integrating add-on parts and components taken from other models, while taking into consideration legislative and ergonomic requirements. The team was also involved in the functional design of the test points for the head impact protection system, which forms part of the passive vehicle safety system, and in numerous other day-to-day activities. One new feature of the project was that the concept design of the modules was accompanied by simulation at this early stage in the project, with the same service provider being given responsibility for both tasks.

 

Specific challenges

During the bidding phase, Bertrandt was commissioned to develop the two derivatives one after another. After a short time, the plans changed and the decision was made to develop the coupé and the convertible in parallel. This reduced the amount of development work and, as a result, priority had to be given to exporting the prototype data. The goal of the project was to produce a self-contained concept which took into consideration all the main production criteria and which could be handed over directly to the supplier responsible for manufacturing the components. The benefits were soon apparent and included a reduction in the amount of work needed and improvements in the technical consistency of the solutions. As the main contractor, Bertrandt’s role also involved allocating projects to two specified subcontractors and managing and coordinating their work. Introducing simulation activities at such an early stage in the project enabled all the specialists to network very effectively. Bertrandt needed indepth and detailed knowledge across all the disciplines involved, which included concept design, simulation and testing.

 

Overview of customer benefits

  • The customer was of the opinion that the central coordination of all the technical areas by one supplier and the reduction in the number of interfaces led to a positive outcome.
  • Because the tasks were commissioned as a package, Bertrandt was able to provide a very quick response following the investigations that it carried out. This was the result of choosing an approach which covered all the modules.
  • The cross-departmental investigations which took place in advance led to reliable results being produced much more quickly. In addition, the supplier enquiries involved a greater level of detail.
  • The result of the open cooperation between all the stakeholders concerning the new methods used throughout the project was a higher level of quality and efficiency in the development of the head impact protection system (FVMSS 201u) and continuity in the provision of data on an ongoing basis in line with the schedule.

 

Lessons learned 

  • Despite the project being fully outsourced, there was no increase in the risks involved and no reduction in quality, because of Bertrandt’s coordinated approach to the interfaces and to its bridgehead role with regard to the technical departments.
  •  The comprehensive preparation of the packaging system across all the modules included the complete bidding process.
  • Transparent communication processes and the focus on Bertrandt as the customer’s sole partner took the pressure off many of the structures involved.
  • The interior projects could be implemented more effectively as all the stakeholders fully supported the bundled approach and made use of existing experience. This enabled Bertrandt to work more efficiently.
  • The main success factors included linking the modules across the different derivatives, easy project scheduling and continuity in the commissioning process.

 

Summary

The varied challenges which the 18-month project involved enabled us to prove that we are a reliable service provider for packaged development processes and to demonstrate our expertise in developing complete modules. This was confirmed by the subsequent order for the same development tasks for the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé, which will soon be launched, and overall project responsibility for the RR4 and X4 models. Several well-known system suppliers are also making use of this knowledge and working together with Bertrandt Munich to develop modular components for the models referred to above ready for volume production. This brings the functional development expertise full circle.