Note To Self: Don't leave camouflaged prototypes parked with the engine running next to Central Park in Manhattan. Just a week after a failed car bomb attempt in Times Square, Manhattan is understandably still a bit jittery. An apparent error in judgement by Martin Birkmann, head of product planning for BMW North America, reportedly triggered a bomb scare and the resulting evacuation of several blocks along Central Park West near the American Museum of Natural History this afternoon.
Birkmann was out evaluating a prototype 2011 BMW X3 covered in camouflage when he stopped to enjoy a bit of fresh air in the park. He inadvertently left the engine running and a woman walking her dog rightly thought the vehicle looked suspicious – particularly understandable given that New Yorkers are not as used to seeing such prototypes out and about as much as, say, your average Detroiter.
Police responded to investigate, and after clearing the area of bystanders, found no reason for alarm. Everyone was safe, although the back window of the X3 prototype was apparently shattered in the process. No doubt Birkmann will think twice about where he parks such vehicles in the future. Hat tip to Michael!