VW on target
WOLFSBURG, Germany - Ferdinand Piech is confident VW will achieve a return on sales of 6.5 percent in 2002, his last year as chairman. Piech set the margin as a goal when he took office in 1993.
Speaking at VW's financial press conference on March 22, Piech said: 'This is a moving target, but I'm pleased to say VW is moving toward it at high speed.'
VW's return on sales currently stands at 5.2 percent, according to International Accounting Standards. VW is changing from German standards to IAS, which is considered more transparent.
Under IAS, VW's pretax profit last year was DM7.5 billion (E3.8 billion), up 38 percent on the year before.
Piech said VW would reach the 6.5 percent margin by increasing productivity and efficiency, and reducing costs.
C70 output cut
Volvo will cut production of the Volvo C70 at its plant in Uddevalla, Sweden, from two shifts to one this spring. The move is in response to a surplus of C70s in the USA.
Volvo will lay off 250 workers at the factory, reducing the work force to 700. Volvo may transfer the laid-off workers to other parts of the company.
Last year, Volvo made 12,000 C70s at Uddevalla. Production will be cut to 8,000-9,000 this year.
The Uddevalla plant was previously known as AutoNova, 49 percent owned by Volvo and 51 percent by British engineering group TWR. Volvo took full control of the plant in May 2000.
Covisint has named Lars Olrik, 39, managing director of its European operations. Olrik, a 39-year-old Dane, comes to Covisint from Cap Gemini Ernst & Young UK.
Peter Weiss, executive vice president of international operations for Covisint, said: 'Lars Olrik's appointment will help Covisint Europe move swiftly to engage our European customers and prospects.'
Olrik has a range of experience in industries such as banking, energy, consumer goods, logistics and transportation. Covisint is a global e-business purchasing network for the automotive industry.
Change at Ghia
Ford is converting its Ghia design center in Turin into an electronic concept studio.
As part of the move, Managing Director Fillippo Sapino, 60, will retire April 1 after 32 years at Ghia. Ford will reduce the Ghia work force from 48 to five. The remaining designers will work completely on computers.
The new studio will be patterned after Volvo's electronic centers in Barcelona and Camarillo, California, USA.