Representatives of the BMW Group, the Czech government and the Karlovy Vary region announced construction of a new proving ground. The roughly 500-hectare property will be developed in Sokolov in the Karlovy Vary region, close to the German border town of Waldsassen and about two-and-a-half hours’ drive from the BMW Group’s main development site, the Research and Development Centre (FIZ), in Munich. The new BMW Group proving ground, which will create several hundred jobs, is slated to go into operation early in the next decade. Total investment will be in the three-digit million-euro range.
Dr. Herbert Grebenc, BMW AG, Human Resources, Senior Vice President Real Estate Management, Corporate Security, stated at the announcement in Prague: “At the planned proving facility in Sokolov, we will continue to advance ground-breaking topics, such as electrification, digitalisation and automated driving – for example, through safety-testing for assistance systems.”
The BMW Group’s existing facilities in Aschheim, near Munich, Miramas (France) and Arjeplog (Sweden) no longer have sufficient capacity to meet testing requirements. The company has therefore spent the past months exploring possible strategic locations in Germany and neighbouring countries. Dr. Herbert Grebenc explained the decision to locate in the Czech Republic, as follows: “We found the ideal conditions and grounds we need for vehicle testing in Sokolov. Opening our first development location in Eastern Europe will create new opportunities and marks a milestone in the history of our company. Working with the property owner Sokolovská uhelná and all political representatives has been extremely positive so far and is based on mutual trust.”
Tomáš Hüner, Czech Minister of Industry and Trade, said at the announcement in Prague: “The government of the Czech Republic and the BMW Group are preparing a joint cooperation agreement on the investment announced today by the BMW Group in construction of a new proving ground for future vehicle technologies in the Karlovy Vary region. The government will deal with the draft of the specialized aspects of that declaration soon. The Ministry of Industry and Trade welcomes investments of this kind, which create highly-skilled and specialised jobs and bring high added value for the Czech economy.”