BMW Group promotes former Thailand marketing chief to lead Asia ops as MD

BMW Group Asia has appointed Lars Nielsen (pictured) as managing director, with effect from 1 September 2021 and will be based in Singapore. He was previously director of sales and marketing at BMW Group Middle East in Dubai for nearly two and a half years and also served in the same capacity at BMW Group Thailand from 2015 to 2019. BMW Group Asia comprises 14 markets, including Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Brunei, Bangladesh, Nepal, Guam, New Caledonia, Tahiti, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.

Nielsen joined BMW Group in 2008 as director of sales for BMW Group Denmark in Copenhagen. After four years, he moved to Munich, and took on the position of area manager Europe, market group north, from January 2012 to December 2014. He replaces current MD Christopher Wehner. Wehner will be relocating back to Munich, Germany to take on the position of vice president for product and launch management for BMW’s small car marque MINI.

Hendrik von Kuenheim, senior vice president region Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, BMW Group said that Nielsen’s “vast sales and marketing experience in Europe, the Middle East and Thailand strongly position him to lead the diverse group of markets in this region”. He also added that Nielsen’s experience in the areas of electrification and online sales is important as the group looks to achieve its sustainability goals in the region as well as to take sales processes online, with the goal of creating a seamless customer journey.

Von Kuenheim also thanked former MD Wehner for his contribution during his tenure at BMW Group Asia. “Under his strong leadership during these uncertain times, the BMW Group Asia region has achieved many milestones, including segment leadership in Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines in 2020, record sales in the BMW Group Asia region and in Singapore in 1H 2021, and managing 14 markets through a pandemic that still continues to surge in the region,” he added.

According to the company, BMW Asia increased retail sales by 21% in the first half of 2021 (H1 2021) compared to the same period in 2019. MINI Asia also increased retail sales in H1 2021 by 12% compared to the same period in 2019 and more than doubled sales since 2011.

BMW Asia recently promoted its Indonesian head of marketing Daren Ching to director of marketing, BMW Asia earlier this June. He replaced Brenda Pek, who now helms the role of director of sales after leading the brand's marketing in Asia for three years. Ching has been in the automotive industry since 1999 and began his career with BMW Malaysia in 2005 as a product manager. Meanwhile, Pek has been with the group since 2007. 

At the same time, the automotive brand is also in the midst of a regional creative pitch for select markets in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and South Africa. Incumbents Tribal Worldwide Singapore and TMRW were invited to defend the account for the creative, digital and social media responsibilities for both BMW and MINI brands.

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