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News watch April 2011: today's auto industry news

Fri, 29 Apr 2011

Come to CAR Magazine's news aggregator as we round up the daily stories in the auto industry. Top tip: news summaries are added from the top hour-by-hour

Friday 28 April 2011
• Due to UK royal wedding national public holidays, CAR Online news coverage will be reduced until CAR reopens on Tuesday 3 May (CAR)
• The Saab financial situation continues to develop. Both the Swedish National Debt Office and General Motors are said to have given their approval for the proposed lease-back sale of Saab property to investor Vladimir Antonov. Meanwhile, Victor Muller has announced that Saab is now unlikely to meet its 2011 sales target of 80,000 vehicles as the plant at Trollhattan remains idle. Saab parent Spyker Cars N.V is pursuing several avenues to raise required funds, both from existing shareholders and through other means (Reuters)
• Toyota and Mercedes-Benz production in the US has been disrupted by tornadoes and severe storms which have struck Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee (Automotive News)
• Renault has reached a settlement with the three executives wrongly accused and dismissed for involvement in industrial espionage during the EV spy scandal (Automotive News Europe)
• Further details have emerged of Chrysler's plans to refinance its debt and pay off US and Canadian government loans secured as part of its 2009 bankruptcy reorganisation. Chrysler plans to have repaid its government loans using newly-secured private credit at more favourable interest rates by June 2011, the second anniversary of its reorganisation. The original loan plan called for repayment in installments, with the final payment due in 2017 (Detroit News)

Thursday 28 April 2011
• Hyundai profits for the 2011 first quarter have risen 46% with sales rises in china, Europe and the US. Hyundai attributes its performance to increased overall sales, and a trend towards sales of higher-priced models in the Hyundai range (Automotive News)
• Honda have suffered a 38% drop in profits and a 2.9% decline in sales for the first quarter of 2011. Despite rising or steady sales in the US and Asia, honda's Japan sales tumbled 22% in Japan and production output in Japan fell 63% in March (Automotive News)
• Spyker Cars N.V, the Dutch firm which owns Saab, has issued a statement confirming reports that the Swedish National Debt Office has allowed Russian banker Vladimir Antonov to become a shareholder of Saab (Spyker Cars N.V)
• Confirming reports from earlier today, Chrysler has issued an official statement of its intention to pay back its remaining US and Canadian government loans using a new line of credit secured from the private sector. Chrysler's intention is to have the government loans repaid in full during the next financial quarter (Chrysler)
• Polaris Industries, maker of all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles, has announced its intention to buy Global Electric Motors (GEM), a US maker of low-speed electric vehicles such as golf carts or similar small utility vehicles from parent company Chrysler (Automotive News) 
• General Motors, Ford and Chrysler-Fiat will not be exhibiting at the 2011 Tokyo motor show, continuing their withdrawal from the 2009 show. PSA Peugeot Citroen, Renault, BMW, Mini, Volkswagen, Porsche and Jaguar Land Rover are among the 19 companies and 22 overseas brands returning to the Tokyo show, which saw a near-absence of foreign manufacturers due to the financial crisis of 2009. (Automotive News, Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association JAMA)
• Porsche first quarter profits were up and sales rose 10% over the same period in 2010. (Bloomberg)
• US Federal Reserve chairman Timothy Geithner will be meeting Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne at a visit and tour of Chrysler's Jefferson North factory in Detroit. Reports speculate that more details on Fiat's refinancing and acquisition plans for Chrysler may emerge during the visit. Geithner will also visit Ford and GM facilities while in Detroit (Detroit News)
• Ford has overcome its shortages in certain shades of red and black paint by working with its suppliers to offer alternatives. However, the ongoing lack of Xirallic paint pigment (sourced from a supplier whose plant remains closed due to proximity to the damaged nuclear powerplants in Fukushima prefecture, Japan) means that Ford will be forced to alter its colour palette for most models as stocks of Xirallic-based paints run out. (Automotive News)

Wednesday 27 April 2011
• UK sports car maker Caterham Cars has been bought by Team Lotus Enterprise (CAR)
• Volkswagen Group countinues the run of positive earnings results for the first quarter of 2011. VW group revenue rose 31% to £33.3bn and profit exceeded market expectations, increasing to 1.5bn, tripling profits compared with the same period in 2010. Audi and VW sales growth, particularly in China were cited as key contributors to the strong financial performance. (VW Group)
• Not all of VW Group's brands are performing as well as VW and Audi. Bentley and Seat posted losses, albeit significantly reduced on their 2010 performance (Automotive News)
• Toyota's VP for production, Atsushi Niimi, has said that Toyota's continuing parts shortages have been traced to 150 small components, mostly small electronics, rubber parts and paint ingredients where major 'tier 1' suppliers received sub-components from a sole tier 3 or tier 4 subcontractor source. Toyota believes it will be more effective to help existing suppliers return to production, than attempt to source alternate sub-contracters (Detroit News)
• Following the IIHS test results for the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt alternative-fuel vehicles, the US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed it was in the process of testing the two vehicles for its five-star crash test rating system (Detroit News)
• Saab talks with the European Investment Bank (EIB) continue over approval for its refinancing plan. The EIB claimed the deal required GM approval, which Spyker Cars N.V and investor Vladimir Antonov claim they have already received. Spyker Cars N.V and Antonov also claim that the terms the EIB is offering connected with the plan are not viable (Reuters)

Tuesday 26 April 2011
• Renault has beat market expectations in posting a 15% rise in first quarter revenues to £9.27bn. Renault's global vehicle sales rose 5.8% to 692,607 units, largely due to growth in developing markets. (Renault)
• Ford has posted a first quarter profit of £1,6bn. Operating profit for Ford of Europe tripled to £178m, compared with a £31m loss for the same period last year. Ford Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth says Ford will have a better financial performance both in terms of profitability and cashflow in 2011, in spite of production disruptions, rising fuel prices and other external factors (Automotive News)
 • Audi has introduced the 'Audi Ultra' sub-brand on its R18 TDI Le Mans racing car. Ultra covers lightweight technology, joining Quattro four-wheel drive E-Tron EV/hybrid technology in the Audi brand lexicon (Audi)
• Ford has brought forward planned shutdowns at plants in Taiwan, China and South Africa in order to manage component shortages following the March 11 earthquake in Japan. This follows a similar move to bring forward a one-week scheduled shutdown at the Ford plant in Genk, Belgium earlier in April (Automotive News)
• Honda says that plant capacity in Japan will remain at 50% through to June, and overseas plant capacity will be set on a case-by-case basis as the firm seeks to manage shortages in components and return production to normal levels by the end of 2011 (Automotive News)
• Analysts voice concern over the effects of a leadership vacuum in operations on Renault, as the company seeks to replace Patrick Pelata following his resignation after the industrial espionage and fraud scandal (Bloomberg)
• Saab's financing issues continue this week, as concerns are expressed over the terms attached to the EIB's conditional approval of its lease-back asset sale to investor Vladimir Antonov (Reuters)
• Nissan has issued a recall in Canada and 20 US 'cold weather states' for 271,000 Nissan Pathfinder and Infiniti QX4 SUVs, due to a potential steering-related fault created by cumulative exposure to winter road salt material (Automotive News)
• The Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf have gained top ratings in the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash test programme. The two alternative-fuel vehicles have yet to be tested in the government's National Highway Transport Safety Administration (NHTSA) five-star crash test rating programme. (Detroit News)
• GM Europe chairman Nick Reilly believe the future of UK car manufacture is at risk due to the lack of a larger local supplier base (BBC News)
• Jaguar Land Rover are investigating potential sites for a new engine plant, with a potential gain of 1000 jobs. Sites in Wolverhampton, South Wales and an undisclosed location in India are being considered as JLR seeks to gain more control over engine production to support growing sales (Sunday Telegraph)

Monday 25 April 2011
• Due to the Easter national public holidays in the UK, CAR Online news coverage will be reduced until CAR reopens on Tuesday 26 April 2011 (CAR)
• Toyota's production output in March 2011 has fallen 63% compared to 2010 due to parts shortages in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan (BBC news)
• 'Revenge of the Electric Car', a documentary by 'Who Killed the Electric Car?' director Chris Paine, has opened at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. The film focuses on the development of the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf, and Tesla Roadster (Detroit News)
• VW is evaluating whether to create a new brand with joint venture partner First Auto Works for entry-level car buyers in the Chinese market (Automotive News Europe)
• Honda President Takanobu Ito says that Honda is working on a replacement for the cancelled NSX replacement, which eventually appeared as the HSV-010 Super GT racing car. The car will likely have a hybrid powertrain and sit above the CR-Z in Honda's lineup. Readers are advised from past experience with NSX replacement announcements that holding their breath until it happens may prove fatal (Automotive News)
• Lexus is likely to lose US market luxury sales leadership due to production disruptions after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan (Automotive News)
• Volvo has denied claims in a Dutch newspaper that the Geely-owned carmaker has been approached by the Swedish government about a takeover of Saab (Reuters)

Friday 22 April 2011
• Due to the Easter national public holidays in the UK, CAR Online news coverage will be reduced until CAR reopens on Tuesday 26 April 2011 (CAR)
• Production cuts at Toyota plants worldwide are likely to last until the end of 2011 due to parts shortages following the March 11 Earthquake and Tsunami. Plants in Japan will return to regular levels in July, with overseas Toyota factories beginning to raise production levels from August (BBC News)
• The Swedish National Debt Office has approved Saab's refinancing proposal involving the sale and lease-back of land and buildings to investor Vladimir Antonov. The deal now requires European Investment Bank approval to proceed (Reuters)
• Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is expecting to double its second quarter sales, largely due to the popularity of the Rolls-Royce Ghost (Automotive News Europe)
• Toyota is recalling 308,000 of its 2007-2008 model year RAV4 and Highlander SUVs in the US to repair airbag sensor problems (Detroit News)

Thursday 21 April 2011
• Bernie Ecclestone dismissed reports that Formula 1 was being sold to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. "We would not sell to a media company because it would restrict the ability to negotiate with other broadcasters," he said. (BBC News)
• Fiat's first quarter 2011 profits were up 9.1%, largely due to healthy Fiat sales in Brazil and high profitability at Ferrari (Automotive News Europe)
• Saab owner Victor Muller says that EIB approval of the investment proposal by Vladimir Antonov is in the final stages of approval. He estimates that Saab has lost approximately 3000 units of production through the production shutdown, but that this could be recovered later in the year. (Reuters)
• Fiat Auto has issued a statement in Italy disclosing its intention to buy a further 16% stake in Chrysler, investing $1.27bn to raise their stake to 46% (Detroit News)
• PSA Peugeot Citroen sales in the first quarter of 2011 are up 10%, beating analysts' estimates. Peugeot cited the introduction of new vehicles such as the Citroen DS3, and greater sales in South America as the reasons for the rise in sales (Bloomberg)

Wednesday 20 April 2011
• Great Wall Motor Co., China's largest manufacturer of light commercial vehicles, plans to enter the US market by 2015 (Automotive News)
• Industry CEOs chose the Shanghai motor show over New York in 2011, with leaders from Mercedes-Benz, VW Group, Renault/Nissan and Toyota amongst others attending the 2011 Shanghai motor show (Bloomberg)
• GM and VW China sales are growing in spite of a slowing rate of market growth. Both are out-performing Toyota in the China market (Bloomberg)
• The US government is working with Google to provide information on EV charging points via Google maps, and other GPS mapping solutions (Detroit News)
• China is expected to become Lamborghini's largest market in 2011, surpassing the US (Automotive News Europe)
• Toyota plans to produce hybrid vehicles in China as carmakers seek to offer low-emissions vehicles (BBC News)

Tuesday 19 April 2011
• BMW and Mercedes-Benz sales in China grew at 76% in 2010 versus an overall market growth of 8.1%. in spite of government moves to clamp-down on 'hedonism' (Bloomberg)
• Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn was a victim of the industrial espionage scandal, says the head of the internal investigation into the case (Reuters)
• Sales of the Tata Nano, launched two years ago, have failed to meet industry expectations. Rapidly rising consumer tastes and poor marketing are cited as factors in the failure of the 'world's cheapest car' to capture greater market share in India (BBC News Video)
• Mazda has launched contingency plans to minimise parts shortages following the natural disasters in Japan last month, having identified several thousand components in limited supply and switching to alternate suppliers or redesigned parts (Automotive News)
• Kevin Wale, head of GM China, says that GM plans to double its sales in China to 5 million units by 2015 (Automotive News)

Monday 18 April 2011
• Mazda have confirmed the production version of the Minagi crossover concept will be called CX-5. The new Mazda CX-5 will debut at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show. (Mazda)
• Nissan plans a software update for its Nissan Leaf electric car after owner reports of difficulty restarting the vehicle. 5,300 of the EV hatchback are involved (Detroit News)
• Toyota and Nissan have warned their dealers in the US that supplies of vehicles may not return to normal until July or even September as manufacturers struggle to recover from the disruption caused by the March 11 earthquake (Automotive News)
• The Swedish government has given conditional approval for the National Debt Office to negotiate a deal with Saab that allows the carmaker to sell its real estate assets to Russian investor Vladimir Antonov in a lease-back deal. This would provide Saab with much-needed funds and reduce the government-guaranteed European Investment Bank (EIB) loan amount to €280 million (Reuters)
• Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is under pressure from the finance sector to pursue an initial public offering (IPO) of Ferrari shares. The IPO of the supercar manufacturer and Fiat's most profitable business unit would enable Fiat to reduce debt levels and improve their credit rating (Bloomberg) 

• European carmakers are beginning to see progress in sales of diesel passenger cars in the US market (Financial Times)

Friday 15 April 2011
• Tata Motors reports it sold 110,785 vehicles in March 2011. Cumulative group sales, including Jaguar Land Rover, in the rolling year to date were up 24% (Tata Motors)
• Jaguar reported its rolling year sales had increased by 12%, while Land Rover sales have roared ahead by 29% (Tata Motors)
• Aston Martin today opens its first dealership in India. Its showroom is in Mumbai (Aston Martin)
• Volvo has poached a senior executive from Volkswagen North America, following in the footsteps of new CEO Stephan Jacoby. Toscan Bennett will assume responsibility for product planning in Gothenburg (Volvo)
• Porsche Holdings SE is reported to have successfully completed its £4.43bn share sale, one of the pre-conditions of completing a merger with Volkswagen Group (Bloomberg)
• Negotiations to release further funds from Saab's European Investment Bank (EIB) loan continue, with the Swedish government considering proposals from Skyker Cars N.V and the Swedish National Debt Office, which guarantees and administers Saab's EIB loan (Reuters)
• Chrysler is said to be close to a re-financing deal with major banks to enable it to pay back the US and Canadian government bailout loans, leading to Fiat gaining 46% of Chrysler as early as June 2011 (Reuters)
• Ford has agreed to extend a recall on Ford F-series pickup trucks to an additional 1.2 million of the 2004-2006 model, after pressure from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA has been investigating cases of unintended airbag deployment on F150s, caused by an electrical short in the system wiring. Ford has disputed the scope of the problem, but faced a public NHTSA hearing if it did not comply with the recall recommendation (Detroit News)

Thursday 14 April 2011
• Fiat is reported to be targeting an increase to 46% of its share of Chrysler by the end of June (Reuters)
• The AA claims UK car insurance rates are rising at the highest rate on record, with an average rise in premiums of 40% in the last 12 months (BBC News)
• Mopar, Chrysler's parts division, has formed a partnership with Fiat-owned Magneti Marelli to expand parts and servicing business through its dealer network (Detroit News)
• Microchip manufacturer Renesas is believed to be accelerating the reopening of its earthquake-damaged plant in order to regain capacity. A shortage of microprocessors for automotive components is disrupting automotive production worldwide, and Renesas supplies 41% of the industry's microcontroller chips. (Automotive News Europe)
• Ford CEO Alan Mulally asked Lincoln dealers to be patient as dealerships are being asked to improve their dealerships and services without an expanded product line to sell (Automotive News)

Wednesday 13 April 2011
• Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn says he never considered resigning over the spy scandal that has seen the resignation of COO Patrick Pelata (Les Echos via Reuters)
• MG volume production restarts today, with the first MG6 scheduled to leave the production line at Longbridge (BBC News)
• The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress in Detroit has seen a significant growth in job opportunities and recruitment presence in 2011, as companies seek new employees amidst a shortage of automotive engineers in the US (Detroit News)
• BMW confirmed it has hired Frank Weber, Opel/Vauxhall's head of product development. Weber, who was lead engineer on the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, will be overseeing BMW's EfficientDynamics fuel efficiency technology development amongst other responsibilities (Automotive News Europe)
• Jaguar has succeeded in winning funding support in the first round of UK Regional Development Fund applications (Jaguar Land Rover, Coventry Telegraph)

Tuesday 12 April 2011
• Fiat has successfully increased its share of Chrysler to 30% after meeting revised US government conditions on export sales of Chrysler vehicles (Automotive News)
• Patrick Pelata, Renault Chief Operating Officer, has resigned. Pelata had offered his resignation to CEO Carlos Ghosn last month, but Ghosn declined. However Pelata will now step down from the COO role, and move to an undisclosed new role with Nissan (Bloomberg)
• Japan's seven major carmakers have lost over 500,000 units of production capacity in the month of disruption caused by March 11 earthquake and tsunami (Automotive News)
• Daimler has entered into negotiations with Bosch to create a joint venture firm for the production of electric vehicle motors for Daimler and other manufacturers (Bloomberg)
• The new Chevrolet Malibu midsize saloon will now enter production four months sooner than scheduled, in order to better compete in the highly-competitive family saloon market in the US. (Detroit News)

Monday 11 April 2011
• Alfa Romeo's return to the US is believed to have been delayed to 2013, due to manufacturing and styling issues with the Giulia and its platform sister Dodge Avenger/Chrysler 200 replacement midsize cars. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is said to be dissatisfied with the styling proposals for all three vehicles (Automotive News Europe)
• New car sales in China were up 6.5% in March, to 1.35m vehicles, a 39% surge after slow sales in February (BBC News)
• Ford and Toyota have announced small price rises in the US, but analysts see an industrywide rise in transaction pricing due to supply disruptions and a reduction in sales incentive funding (Financial Times)
• General Motors has established a cross-functional taskforce working on alternative parts sourcing and contingency plans to mitigate manufacturing disruptions due to the Japan earthquake and tsunami (Detroit News)
• Renesas, the Japanese firm which produces 41% of the automotive industry's microcontroller chips, is moving production from its crippled Naka plant (responsible for 25% of the firm's capacity) in eastern Japan to other facilities in Japan and Singapore, but analysts fear that supply disruptions will continue for several months as production is re-established (Automotive News)

Friday 8 April 2011
• Russian new car sales increased 77% in March 2011 with 223,479 sales recorded. AvtoVAZ's Lada was the top-selling brand, benefitting from Russia's scrappage scheme (Automotive News Europe)
• Toyota have announced that it will restart production at all of its Japan production plants on April 18.  Plants will operate at 50% capacity until April 27, with production plans after the Golden Week national holidays in the first week of May undecided (Bloomberg)
• Honda has not revised its US sales targets for 2011, believing it can make up for production disruptions due to the disaster in Japan (Automotive News)
• Chrysler's plan to sell vehicles through Fiat's dealer network in Latin America is nearing implementation as Fiat seeks to meet conditions to increase its share of Chrysler to 30% (Automotive News)
• Toyota and Microsoft will collaborate on in-car electronics systems to deliver infotainment and energy efficiency monitoring data for hybrids and EVs (Detroit News)

Thursday 7 April 2011
• Nissan is suspending production at its Sunderland plant for three days due to parts shortages from Japan (BBC News)
• Toyota has cancelled planned overtime at its Burnaston and Deeside manufacturing plants, due to disruption of parts supply from Japan (Automotive News)
• Chrysler has also cancelled overtime at its plants in Toluca, Mexico and Brampton, Canada due to parts supply problems (Automotive News)
• Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has announced a £108m funding extension for Russia's car scrappage scheme. The scheme provides a 50000 Rouble (£1082) credit to buyers who trade-in cars over ten years old (Reuters)
• Renault's head of EV development Thierry Koskas (interviewed recently by CAR) confirmed that the ongoing industrial espionage and fraud case has not affected progress on Renault's EV programme (Reuters)

Wednesday 6 April 2011
• Honda halves production plans at its Swindon, UK plant due to parts shortages from Japan (BBC News)
• Fiat's plan to increase its stake in Chrysler to 30% is believed to take place within weeks (Bloomberg)
• Toyota City's supplier network is facing tough times as Toyota plants remain idle following the earthquake and tsunami two weeks ago (Automotive News)
• Mercedes-Benz have issued a global recall for 2000-2002 ML-class SUVs, for cruise control disengagement problems.  An estimated 190000 vehicles, including some 200-2004 AMG products, are affected. (Reuters)
• Volkswagen marks 50 years as a publicly-listed company, now a markedly-larger business than the Wolfsburg-based maker of the VW Beetle was in 1961. (VW)
• Maserati have announced their first dealerships in India. In a joint venture with local luxury retailers the Shreyans Group, the first Maserati dealership will open this year in Mumbai, followed by a dealership in New Delhi planned for 2012. A network of seven dealerships in major Indian cities are planned by 2015. (Maserati)

Tuesday 5 April 2011
• Victor Muller denies Saab is near financial collapse (Reuters)
• Fiat/Chrysler will launch a new Dodge compact saloon in China and Russia next year, based on the new 'compact wide' platform (a 40mm wider version of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta platform) which replaces the Dodge Caliber in 2012 (Automotive News Europe)
• Ford has added 500 new jobs and boosted production at its plant in St. Petersburg, Russia following growing demand for the Focus and Mondeo, (Reuters)
• Kia design chief Peter Schreyer is determined to add a roadster to the Kia range, but must update the Rondo and Sedona first (Automotive News Europe)
• Ford CEO Alan Mulally is the recipient of the 2011 Edison Achievement Award  for innovation (Detroit News)

Monday 4 April 2011
• Citroen report that their DS line of premium vehicles is performing beyond expectations, with the DS3 accounting for a quarter of total C3 sales (Automotive News Europe)
• Japan new car sales have fallen 37% in March compared with the previous year, in the aftermath of last month's devestating earthquake and tsunami (BBC News)
• Conversely, US market new vehicle sales for the month of March were up 17%, beating analysts expectations (Automotive News)
• All 3 US car makers posted sales gains in March versus the same period in 2010, with Ford up 19,1%, GM up 9.9% and Chrysler up 30.9%. Passenger car sales overall rose 21.1%, and truck sales were up 12.7% (Detroit News) 
• Fiat CEO Sergo Marchionne says the current economics of producing electric vehicles don't work, and claims that Chrysler will lose $10000 (£6200) on every Fiat 500 BEV it sells in the US, and a similar amount in Europe (Automotive News Europe)

Friday 1 April 2011
• Renault denies a report in the French newspaper Liberation that there will be job losses at its Douvrin engine plant following recent decisions to manufacture two new engine lines at plants in Romania and Spain (Automotive News Europe)
• Reports emerge that VW Group has approved funds for Bugatti to launch a four-door saloon based on the Galibier concept (Bloomberg)
• Saab's dramas continue, as parent company Spyker Cars N.V warns that the Swedish marque's future is doubtful without further financing (Automotive News)
• Dongfeng Group, China's second-largest car maker is in talks to buy a 30% stake of German transmission manufacturer Getrag (Reuters)
• RIP Edward Stobart, founder of the Eddie Stobart haulage firm, who died yesterday from heart problems, age 56. (BBC News)
• Frank Stronach, founder and chairman of parts and contract manufacturer Magna International has stepped-down from his role as Chairman but will retain a seat on the Magna board. (Reuters)
• The Office for Fair Trading is taking enforcement action against used car buying company after complaints its online valuations were misleading. The OFT found that 96% of customers who sold their car to received less for their vehicle than the original website valuation (OFT)
• BMW M division has a new boss: Dr Friedrich Nitschke is the new managing director of BMW M Gmbh effective 1 May 2011. He was previously responsible for developing Minis and he replaces Dr Kay Segler, who moves to take over Mini brand management (BMW)

By Mark Hamilton