BMW Group plots JV in Portugal to develop ground-breaking software solutions

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 08 Oct 2018

The BMW Group and Critical Software have concluded the formation of their joint venture. Called Critical TechWorks, the new joint-venture company will combine both partners’ expertise in premium mobility and automotive software engineering for the development of ground-breaking on- and offboard applications.

The BMW Group holds a 51 percent stake in the new company, which already employs around 200 people at its locations in Lisbon and Porto in Portugal.

BMW says Critical TechWorks represents an important addition to the BMW Group’s global innovation network in the area of IT and software development. With increased involvement in the field of digitalisation, the BMW Group is pursuing the goals set out in its Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT: in  its transformation into a mobility-tech company and actively engaged in the digital shift in the automotive industry.

“With this stakeholding, we are selectively expanding our IT and software expertise and enhancing our in-house capabilities in this area. Starting today, in addition to our locations worldwide, we will also be developing ground-breaking solutions for digitalisation and automation of product development, production and sales here in the heart of this fast-growing IT hotspot,” said Klaus Straub, Senior Vice-President BMW Group Information Management, at the signing ceremony.

Christoph Grote, Senior Vice-President BMW Group Electronics, added: “With the offices in Portugal, we are integrating a key location for development of digital services. At the same time, we will benefit from a growing and dynamic environment with young talents who fit our DNA perfectly and are passionate about our products. This will strengthen our innovation leadership and our vision of the car of the future as intelligent and predictive.”

Developing high-end software solutions
The main task for Critical TechWorks will be development and operation of high-end software solutions in various areas. Employing agile development methods, the joint venture’s specialists will use BMW Group data to create innovative business models and develop knowledge-based products. The range of innovations extends from in-car infotainment solutions and digital services, to autonomous transport systems for production, to digital sales and aftersales platforms, and highly-integrated solutions for product data management.

"Launching a software company like Critical TechWorks is the chance of a lifetime,” according to Rui Cordeiro, CEO, Critical Software. “Software has a huge role to play in shaping the future of mobility and the automotive industry as a whole, and we plan to become a reference point not only in Portugal, but across the world.”

Reflecting the major significance of digitalisation, the new joint-venture company is geared towards dynamic growth. There are plans to expand the workforce to up to 500 employees in 2019, with further increases going forward.

The joint venture’s Portuguese sites, located just a few miles from the Atlantic coast, provide ideal conditions for efficient cooperation with the BMW Group’s existing IT network, as well as steady growth. Portugal has become an attractive location for new businesses in the field of digitalisation, offering a lively, creative and innovative start-up scene.