Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday 3/24/11

Today we woke up early and went to the BMW factory. Even though I don't know much about cars, it was a blast. We walked up to the multiple buildings and they were all huge and uniquely shaped. We went on our first tour of the day with Damien. At first I thought he was from the US because he spoke perfect English but I later found out that he was born and raised in Germany. During the first tour I learned a lot about BMW. During World War II they forced labor and they've been trying to make up for that ever since then. They have over 100,000 employees worldwide and work really hard to provide premium products including cars, motorcycles, etc. We got to tour the facilities to see everything put together from the beginning until the end. My favorite part was seeing all of the robots work on the various parts. There must have been over 100 of them in the room we were in. If a robot malfunctions, then they're put into a special time out room until they can figure out what the problem is.

 Me on a BMW cop motorcycle!

One of the BMW buildings

Me in front of the other BMW building

BMW produces 200,000 cars per year and it only takes about 40 hours to finish a car. Out of the whole bunch, only 2 cars may be alike because these cars are custom made for the customer. This was another way that I thought Germany was different from the US. I feel like the US focuses more on quantity than quality. BMW's are expensive but you're paying for something that's going to last and you know the quality of the car is reliable. They have so many quality controls throughout the process and even if there's a really minor fault, they will take it off the line and either fix it or recycle the parts. I think it just goes back to having a good reputation. European countries really focus on the quality of their products and that's what their companies are founded on.

Outside of the tour, I noticed these little machines moving around in the lobby. These were ice breaker machines that the salespeople used to start up conversations with potential customers. I thought that was a really good tactic!

We decided to check out Pizza Hut for lunch. It was really good but I could tell the ingredients were a little different. They were also charging for refills which usually you get for free in the US. It was really fun eating with the whole group and just hanging out.

We had some extra time before our second tour so we decided to go look at the Old Olympic stadium. It was a great sight because it had so many different complexes and all of the buildings had neat architecture. They still use the complexes for different events and they're trying to get the Olympics in Germany again in 2018.

The old Olympic stadium

Group picture with BMW in the background

It was a beautiful day out so we walked around, took a bunch of pictures, and laid on the grass. Sarah and Danielle accidentally rolled in dog poop which was hilarious.

We went back to BMW for our second tour. We go to learn more about the architecture of the buildings and how it has become an icon for Munich. We got to see where they store the cars and how people pick up their cars. They really make it into a lavish show. The car gets lit up and spins in a circle around and then you get to drive it down a circle drive within the building. You pay for a BMW because the quality and unique experience it offers.

Where some of the cars are stored for pick-up

You can see how they will spin on the surface so the customer can see their car!

Jessie, Amanda, Swinder and I decided to skip the museum tour so we could rest up. A few of us decided to do the German beer tour that evening. We met at the train station and got all signed up. I really liked our tour guide because he gave us a brief explanation of the history of the bar before we tried the beer there. The beer in Germany is so different than it is here. It's a lot easier to drink and has a unique flavor to it. We went to all 4 of the bars and had a really good time. We made friends from Ireland, Australia, Germany, Italy, etc.
Us with our group leader!

Giving everyone a brief history of the bar/beer

 I am so happy that I had a good group of friends to experience this with! We all completed the tour so we are officially certified. Woohoo!

Til next time!

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