MUNICH - BMW worked more closely with suppliers on the new 3 series than on any previous model, said project manager Wolfgang Ziebart.
Forty months before the launch and 18 months before the styling freeze, BMW held design competitions among suppliers for the 20 most important modules.
The number of suppliers was cut from about 300 on the old 3 series to 150 on the new model.
Designers from suppliers sat side-by-side with BMW's development teams. That let the teams make faster decisions and permitted flexibility not possible under the old organization, Ziebart said.