Among the first challenges of the new management team at Land Rover will be completing the job of engineering the next-generation Range Rover. Because it is so late in the development cycle, Ford will essentially buy the new Range Rover from BMW.
Ironically, a team of 'a few hundred' engineers in Munich assembled by Reitzle during his tenure as BMW product development chief will work under contract to finish the vehicle for Ford. That means Reitzle will again be working with a BMW team - albeit indirectly.
Reitzle left BMW after a stormy boardroom session in February 1999 that also saw his boss, Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder, lose his job.
'I was away from the project for only a year,' said Reitzle. 'Now I get it back.'
As it nears completion, the Range Rover project will gradually be transferred to Land Rover's Gaydon technical center in the English midlands. The launch date for the new Range Rover is about 18 months away. To change the project now would delay the launch date, Reitzle said.
Reitzle declined to name a price of the new Range Rover but said it could be in the same range as the BMW 7 series. The new Range Rover will be equipped with BMW engines.