Audi Motor Hungaria Kft reported net profits of DM140 million ($80 million) in 1997, compared with DM42 million in 1996. Audi AG Chairman Franz-Josef Paefgen said that the Gyor-based subsidiary tripled sales in 1997 to DM1.6 billion.
The Gyor plant added new six-and eight-valve engines to become the main engine supplier of Audi. It will soon start production of the Audi TT coupe and roadster. Audi Hungaria Motor plans to make almost one million engines this year, up from 585,000.
Walter Hasselkus, Rover Group chairman and BMW board member, officially started construction of a $670 million BMW Group engine factory in Hams Hall, UK.
The factory will supply up to 500,000 1.6- and 2.0-liter engines, beginning late 2000.
California-based design subsidiary Designworks/USA will open an office in Munich on 18 May. Designworks/USA clients include other carmakers in North America, as well as non-auto companies. Members of the BMW board will attend a launch party, to which many German industrialists have been invited.
Daewoo Motor Co. executive Che Wang Ok has been appointed general manager of AvtoZAZ-Daewoo, the 50-50 joint venture the companies have formed in Zaporizhya, Russia. AvtoZAZ plant manager Oleksander Sotnykov will report to him.
The venture will reach full capacity of 150,000 Daewoo cars a year in 2004. They will include the Leganza, Nubira wagon, Lanos and Matiz. The plant has just added kit assembly of the Daewoo Nubira to its production of AvtoZAZ Tavrijas.
Daewoo will pay $150 million to AvtoZAZ by the end of May as its contribution to the joint venture.
Ferrari UK (Maranello Concessionaires Ltd.), a subsidiary of Inchcape Motors, has bought Belgian Ferrari importer SA Garage Francorchamps. Stuart Robinson, managing director of Ferrari UK, will also become chairman of the Belgian operation. Oliver Coune remains as managing director of Garage Francorchamps.
TURIN - Fiat has cut its 1998 worldwide sales forecast to 2.7 million from the 2.9 million announced in January. 'The Brazilian market has not recovered yet,' said Loic Caperan, Fiat marketing and sales chief.
'Everything depends on how Brazil will resume growth.' He said the Brazilian market could range from 1.4 million units to 1.6 million this year.
Eiji Iwakuni, a former star salesman at Honda Motor Co. who became boss of Ford's Japan subsidiary this month, will visit Europe, Brazil and North America in June to look for products on sale or on the drawing boards that would appeal to Japanese customers.
Ford exports to Japan fell more than one-third in 1997, and its share of a shrinking imported vehicle market sank to 4.1 percent from 5 percent in the previous three years. Said Iwakuni: 'Our product lineup is between harvests.'
Reuters News Service
The Luton, UK, plant will also produce the replacement model for the Vectra currently built there. Nick Reilly, chairman of GM's Vauxhall Motors subsidiary, announced the decision following the signing of an agreement last month on pay increases and flexible working with UK unions.
Hans Wilhelm Gaeb, chairman of Adam Opel AG's supervisory board and General Motors Europe vice president, recently underwent successful bypass surgery in Germany.
Gaeb, 62, is reported to be in good condition at Frankfurt University Hospital in Germany.
Richard Donnelly, chairman of GM Europe, said Gaeb is expected to return to his post. 'We are looking forward to Hans resuming his full duties both at GM Europe and at Opel in the not-too-distant future.'
In celebration of 50 years of XK sports cars, Jaguar hosted 50 German customers at its Coventry, UK, factory on 7 May. The 50 signed up to buy the new XKR during a sales promotion campaign in Germany earlier this year. They will be the first customers to take delivery of the new car - direct from the factory. Jeffrey Scott, managing director of Jaguar Germany, said this is the first time the company has allowed delivery from the plant.
Mazda, which developed its Demio fuel-cell electric vehicle by itself, has joined its parent Ford in the fuel-cell alliance with Daimler-Benz and Ballard Power Systems of Canada.
Daimler-Benz has set up a new distribution company, MB Latina, to coordinate sales in South America. The company's headquarters will be in Miami, Florida. Daimler-Benz had 1997 sales of DM5.3 billion ($2.9 billion) in the region. Daimler will retain its current importers in South American countries.
First quarter sales in Europe rose 15 percent to 136,905 units. Nissan Europe NV said unit sales of the Almera were up 32 percent, and the Micra by 17.6 percent. Nissan's biggest rises were in France (55.3 percent) and Spain (35.9 percent).
Diana T. Kurylko
PSA/Peugeot-Citroen automotive sales were up 25.6 percent in the first quarter to FF50.6 billion ($8.4 billion), thanks to strong growth by both marques this year, especially in France.
Peugeot sales were up 10.2 percent to 326,900 vehicles, and Citroen rose 10.9 percent to 245,800 units.
European sales outside France were up 10.4 percent. Sales elsewhere in the world were 80,700, up 9.4 percent.
Renault collectors planned a parade 10 May into Paris on the Champs Elysees to celebrate Renault's 100th anniversary. The 650 cars were organized by the CAR Club of Renault enthusiasts. The parade was to begin at Renault's Boulogne-Billancourt headquarters.
IAV GmbH (50 percent owned by Volkswagen) has opened a development office in Miskolc, Poland, to engineer car parts with recent graduates of Miskolc University.
University Department Head Jozsef Cselenyi said 15 engineers are developing parts for Volkswagen, but the number could grow to as many as 300. IAV hopes to win contracts from other automakers.
The round-the-world yacht race currently sponsored by brewing company Whitbread will become the Volvo Ocean Race in 2001-02. A starting field of at least 15 boats will compete in the first round. Volvo will also sponsor the World Youth Sailing Championships.