Perhaps BMW has been casting an envious eye at Walt Disney World, the famed theme park in Orlando, Fla. Last week BMW opened BMW Welt (BMW World), a new brand center in Munich, Germany, that it expects to become a major tourist attraction.
Board member Ernst Baumann said the automaker expects around 850,000 people to visit the center annually. Part museum and part showroom, BMW Welt is in a new building next to the Bavarian automaker's headquarters.
Customers buying new BMWs can a pay an extra 457 euros ($648) to pick up their cars there. The price includes a tour of BMW's Munich plant, where the 3 series is built. BMW Welt also will be used as a concert and conference hall.
CEO Norbert Reithofer said at the opening ceremony: "BMW Welt is not a museum, nor is it just a delivery center. It is the home of the brand."
The automaker spent more than $700 million on the new building and to refurbish the BMW museum. Executives did not disclose how much was specifically spent on BMW Welt, but it is believed to be more than $350 million.