Day 4 – Webasto and BMW (May 11th)

It was another early morning for us today. We were up at 7 and out of the hotel by 8. Today, our first order of business was to go to Webasto. This was also my company so I had to make sure that I was paying attention and taking notes as these would be important for my presentation later.

We first had a company talk in a room with a bunch of tennis courts. It was really nice of them to provide us pretzels, coffee, and juice to eat before they started their presentation. Their talk was based almost entirely around the battery and charge systems which I found intriguing. Almost all of Webasto’s sales are roofing and heating and cooling systems so it was interesting to see them talking more about their future plans with something that sells very little in the present. It shows that the company is forward thinking and adapting to the market. The presentation was engaging and also short which was very important as it allowed me to stay paying attention and record as much information as I could. However, the speaker did have trouble answering some of our Q&A questions. He did later inform us that he would be sending us the information afterward after he had asked the people who were more focused on the subject area. I thought the effort to find us the answers was a good look for the company.

Some Chargers that Webasto are developing

After the talk, we did a quick viewing of the products that Webasto produces. There were batteries and charger there but also a controllable roof that was cool to open and close. We then explored some of the production plant at the facility. The Webasto building we were at was designed to test roof systems. There were chambers to test temperature durability, conditions under UV light, and they even had an anechoic chamber to test if the roof made any noise. Overall, the company visit went very well. It was concise, and they provided breaks so that we weren’t too tired and it was cool to walk around and see what they did. I’m sure I have gathered good information for the presentation on Wednesday.

After Webasto we had a quick drive and ended up at the BMW headquarters. It’s based right outside of Munich and it was cool to see the building in person.

The first thing we did was have a factory tour. The building was super big and super cool to see. Unfortunately, they asked us not to take photos so I don’t have any of the inside. But, there were a lot of robotic arms that performed jobs and it was very mechanically complicated and if I could, I would’ve spent hours figuring out how everything works. The fact that at the beginning it’s just a sheet of metal and at the end it’s a fully functioning vehicle is astounding to me. Our tour guide was very good. He had solid answers to every question that was asked and was a really chill dude to have narrating our tour. We saw everything from the initial sheet metal construction, to seat making, to how they screw everything in place. It was a very comprehensive look at how BMW makes their cars.

BMW Welt Building

After our tour we wound up back in the main lobby of the BMW museum. There, we immediately set off on another tour through the BMW museum which takes you on a journey through the history of BMW since its creation. It also covers some of the most popular cars it has produced and some of the most expensive as well. It was cool seeing how BMW shifts as the market changes and technology improves. It originally made airplane propellers, and motorcycles when these became popular, before finally settling on cars.

BMW’s first Racing Vehicle
BMW Headquarters

Unfortunately by this point, we were all very tired. We had spent almost 10 hours absorbing information and were mentally exhausted. However, we had one more talk before we were to head back. It was given by an engineer from BMW, but seeing how tired we were, turned it into a Q&A session where we could ask questions about sustainability in BMW and general questions that weren’t answered on the tour.

After we were done, we headed back to Augsburg and had an individual dinner. Me, Jason, Peter, Liam, Oday, Ben, Vipin, and Zach all ate at Alibaba Doner and this time I got the wrap. Honestly, it was even better than the Doner sandwich because it was much easier to eat. I then went back to my room, chilled for a bit and then went to bed.

Cool Bonus Image from tonight!

Today was a tiring but fruitful day. BMW’s automation is quite astounding. All the robots work in unision to make the cars and it looks like magic as they whizz around each other and you see sparks fly everywhere. However, I did enjoy Webasto’s tour more. The fact that they provided pretzels for us made the tour feel more personable. Also, Webasto’s factory tour was just as impressive. There were so many machines each designed to make sure that each roof was perfect and that there would be no mistakes on the market. That attention to detail is probably why Webasto is one of the best roofing companies in the world.

Anyways, I’m tired, I need to sleep. Signing off for now and on to a new day!

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