German car manufacturer BMW has chosen the Algarve for the world launch of its new BMW 3 series, which is on show in the region until February 9, just before it is due to go on sale.
Several venues, such as the Algarve race track and Pavilhão do Arade, near Portimão, have been hosting special events since last month to showcase the new model.
Four hotels – Hotel da Rocha, Júpiter, the Sheraton and Tivoli Victoria – are expected to host visitors as thousands of industry dealers, importers and members of the press from around the globe are brought by BMW to the Algarve to learn about the sixth generation of its most important high-volume model.
The Algarve’s two Michelin starred restaurants Vila Joya in Albufeira and Ocean at the Vila Vita Parc near Porches are also said to be hosting large groups for dinner.
Paulo Pinheiro, CEO of Parkalgar which manages the Algarve Race Track, is the man responsible for bringing this prestigious event to the region.
Speaking to Sul Informação online news portal, he said: “Each year, there are dozens of car launches in the world. If we manage to attract to the Algarve four or five of these, it will be very good for the economy as it will also be for the race track.
“But car launches will only come to the race track if it gets international recognition.”
Last year, the Algarve Race Track was host to four car launches from car manufacturers Jaguar, McLaren, Honda and Triumph.
The new BMW 3 Series Sedan will reach markets worldwide early next month and is expected to continue the “success story” of the previous model.
According to the car manufacturer, the new 3 Series Sedan offers a choice of “four strong, refined, fuel-efficient engines that operate with the new BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. Additional variants will join the model line-up in spring 2012. A full-hybrid version of the new BMW 3 Series will also be available in autumn 2012”.
The 328i and 335i models with petrol engine and the 320d and 320d EfficientDynamics diesel variants will be offered at market launch.
Prices for the above models will lie between €35,350 (320d) and €43,600 (335i) in Germany – Portugal prices are yet to be released.
The latest model represents investments of more than €1 billion in global production by the BMW group, which says drivers can expect more performance and less consumption, also thanks to innovative lightweight construction.
Local businesswoman gets involved
Lagoa-based florist Suzannah’s Flowers was one of the few Algarve companies to be involved in the launch held at the Pavilhão do Arade venue in Parchal. Suzannah Watson told the Algarve Resident how organisers managed to keep such a high-profile event under a veil of secrecy:
This private VIP unveiling brings a welcome buzz of activity at this quiet time of year to Algarve hotels and restaurants as the BMW guests are given the full VIP treatment.
The event has been put together for BMW by a top Berlin based events and design company. Most of the services from construction to catering, dancers, musicians, technicians have all been brought from Germany.
We were rather mysteriously contacted over the Christmas period by a German company about an extensive floral and plant decoration project at the Arade conference centre.
It was all very hush, hush and we were not allowed to know what the event was or who the client was. We spent a week installing the decoration at the centre under strict security, working with the other crew to transform the Arade conference centre.
It was great fun to work with such amazingly professional people on such a massive project and to see the level of attention paid to every last detail.
We watched the dancers and acrobats rehearse their shows, saw spectacular light and sound displays and even had a few glimpses of the cars as their covers were whisked off for final polishing.
Sleek, beautiful and very secret – no photographs were allowed.
Outside the conference centre, hundreds of BMW cars were lined up in precise rows and polished endlessly by smartly uniformed chauffeurs recruited to meet and greet the car dealers as they arrived at Faro airport.
We are really proud to be involved in such a prestigious and world class event.