Maybe it was too ahead of its time or maybe it was not promoted well after its initial slow sales start.
Since then, I have met and interviewed Ganal, many times.
One time I clearly remember was when he unveiled BMWs new vision of building cars to order.
Other times were during broader (and endless) discussions about the role of the iconic Mini small-car brand within the BMW group.
I always enjoyed talking with Ganal, a German-born lawyer who joined BMW in 1986, both for his frank and broad vision, which is common in the auto industry, and also for his genuine good manners, something that is not so common in the industry, particularly in these stormy days.
Candidate to be CEO
For a while, I was the BMW correspondent for Automotive News Europe. That was not an easy period because of the unexpected accelerated retirement of then-CEO Helmut Panke.
I considered Ganal to be one of the top three candidates to replace Panke and I was ready to print this.
BMW sources gently suggested that I delete his name.
They told me Ganal was fighting a serious illness so he was not a contender for BMWs top job.