Cautious approach pays off for Rover 75
If Rover managing director Jim MacDonald is to be believed, the new 75 sedan currently coming out of the Cowley plant in Oxford, England, is as well built as anything inside the BMW Group. In terms of the average number of faults per car measured at the end of the production line, the 75 is right up to BMW standards - and maybe even better.
That, says MacDonald, fully justifies the decision not to rush through the 75's launch earlier in the year.
Lear, D/C help with earthquake relief
DaimlerChrysler has donated DM 500,000 (euro 253,000) to help Turkey's relief effort after this month's earthquake which is expected to have killed more than 40,000 people. D/C's local subsidiary, Mercedes-Benz Turkey, is located in Istanbul, with two bus plants 90km west of the earthquake's epicenter, and an unharmed commercial vehicle plant in middle Anatolia. The two bus plants sustained only slight damage. The company has organized aid and relief teams bringing medical help, water and food to the disaster areas.
Lear Corp., meanwhile, will donate $10,000 (euro 9,407) to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts. Lear has two facilities in Bursa, south of the quake's epicenter.
'As a global company, we feel a special connection to the people in each company where we have a presence,' said Ken Way, Lear chairman and chief executive.
The company has also started a campaign at its plants to collect clothing and other goods for distribution among survivors. No Lear or D/C employees were reported harmed in the quake.
Hogan picked to head GM's Internet push
General Motors is determined to wrest control of automotive Internet sales from nimble 'dot com' companies and other automakers. It is pulling together its global electronic commerce businesses into a new entity called e-GM. GM has put one of its rising stars, 48-year-old Mark Hogan, in charge of e-GM and promoted him to group vice president.
GM is aiming to establish itself as a true e-commerce company that offers one-stop online shopping for GM vehicles, automotive service and parts, and financial services. It wants to build its brands on the Internet, and increase subscriptions to its OnStar in-vehicle communications system. GM will also use the Internet to link its plants and supply chain seamlessly to sales and marketing.
Volvo's Swedish dealers prefer Renault to Ford
Ford may be interested in exploring the synergies at the dealer level between its various brands. But Volvo dealers in Sweden and other Nordic countries are perfectly happy with the synergies they already have with a non-Ford brand: Renault. Volvo sales organizations in Scandinavia have been the official Renault importers for the past 17 years, and most dealers sell the two brands from the same showrooms.
Take Sweden for example. Renault's market share there is rising, while Ford's is falling.
'If I had to choose between Renault and Ford the choice would be Renault,' said Sten Brandt, owner of Brandt Brothers, a group of 11 Volvo dealerships based in Uddevalla, Sweden. 'We have systems, the knowledge, the technicians. In this way, we have a great advantage to work with Renault and have it together with Volvo.'