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04/11/2011    11:05 AM

Just a a day ago, when I first read that Frank Weber, Chevrolet Volt lead engineer turned Opel executive, it got my mind thinking. Likely some sort of internal politics? Disagreement on strategies? Well, it seems to be the case that BMW is taking its commitment to electric thinking very seriously and going for the jugular.

Reports right now are indicating that it was in fact BMW who has hired Mr. Weber away from Opel. Mr. Weber will be working directly under BMW’s head of research and development, Klaus Draeger. Although no engineering slouch, BMW’s expertise in the arena of EVs has certainly increased with the addition of Mr. Weber, who is a German native himself and should make the transition fairly easily.

The future seems bright for … CONTINUED

04/08/2011    7:59 AM

The BMW Group sold more vehicles in March than ever before in a month. The company sold a total of 165.842 BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brand vehicles in the past month, not only significantly exceeding the figure for March of last year (141,717 units / +17%) but also the previous sales high of 152,721 vehicles recorded in December 2007. The BMW and MINI brands also set new monthly records.

The company also achieved a new high for the first three months: Sales started the year stronger than ever – for the BMW Group, and the three brands. Retail volumes for the year to the end of March increased by more than 67,000 vehicles to 382,758 units (prev. yr. 315,630 units), which represents growth of 21.3% compared with … CONTINUED

04/01/2011    6:00 AM

New management responsibilities at BMW M GmbH and MINI brand

Friedrich Nitschke to head BMW M GmbH

Kay Segler takes over MINI brand management

Dr. Friedrich Nitschke (56) will take over as managing director of BMW M GmbH effective 1 May of this year. Nitschke was previously responsible for the MINI Series within the Development division, and has held various management positions in the Controlling and Development divisions since joining the company in 1978.

The current managing director of BMW M GmbH, Dr. Kay Segler (56), will be responsible for MINI brand management in the future. Segler has been with the company since 1988, mainly in management functions within the Sales and Marketing division, both in Germany and abroad. He previously managed the MINI brand between 2004 and 2008. He … CONTINUED

03/31/2011    6:30 PM

In yet another example of how the Apple iPad is changing the world of business and retail, Autonews has an interesting article on how the iPad has and will soon likely speed up the lease return process at BMW dealerships throughout the country – something which will make the experience more pleasant for customers and more efficient for dealers.

The iPad lease return pilot program is currently in place at sixteen dealerships. According to BMWFS, the results so far have been encouraging and makes it more likely that the program will be expanded. What are the main benefits? “We’re seeing certainly a quicker process, and we’re also seeing a much more transparent process,” said Shaun Bugbee, vice president of sales and marketing for BMW Financial Services.

Norm McLeod, … CONTINUED

03/29/2011    3:45 PM

CNN Money has posted FORTUNE’s list of the world’s most admired companies. The general non-industry specific list is compiled from a survey of businesspeople from all industries. The industry-specific list (i.e. Motor Vehicles category) is derived from a survey of each specific industry, according to peer companies.

BMW tops the Motor Vehicles sector and was voted as the No. 1 Most Admired company by their automotive industry peers. Volkswagen group was No. 2 and Daimler No. 3. In terms of global companies overall, BMW ranked No. 19. Apple was No. 1. Lists posted inside.

03/28/2011    1:25 PM

BMW is currently among the top 3 automakers closest to making their European Union mandated CO2 targets. They are currently #3 and follow Toyota and PSA/Peugeot-Citron. BMW needs to cut its overall fleet emissions by only 7.1 percent in order to meet the more onerous emissions regulations which begin next year. Toyota needs to reduce by only 4.2 percent, and PSA by 5.1 percent.

BMW has been able to be far ahead of the curve on meeting the targets through a combination of offering increased diesel efficiency and models, activehybrid models, smaller motors with forced induction (turbo), and soon to join the fleet – pure electric vehicles.

The increased emissions standards call for reducing CO2 emissions from new cars sold in Europe to a fleet average of 130g/km … CONTINUED

03/21/2011    9:00 AM

The BMW Group and Sixt AG are planning a unique and innovative car sharing venture. With effect from April 2011 onwards – initially in Munich and later in Berlin – the two companies intend to join forces in offering a modern mobility concept under the brand-name DriveNow; this new product will combine vehicles and service of the highest quality with simple, flexible usage. DriveNow is the first car sharing concept to place an emphasis on efficient premium vehicles and comprehensive service. Vehicles may be hired and dropped off wherever the customer needs them, thus clearly differentiating DriveNow from products offered by other competitors.

Sixt AG and the BMW Group intend to bundle their car sharing activities in the DriveNow joint venture, in which each company will hold … CONTINUED

03/10/2011    11:00 AM

The BMW Group has achieved new record highs for revenues and earnings in 2010, with revenues climbing by 19.3% to euro 60,477 million (2009: euro 50,681 million) and the profit before tax (EBT) jumping to euro 4,836 million (2009: euro 413 million). The Group reports a profit before financial result (EBIT) of euro 5,094 million (2009: euro 289 million) and a record net profit for the year of euro 3,234 million (2009: euro 210 million).

In the light of this strong performance, the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board will propose to shareholders at the Annual General Meeting on 12 May 2011 that the dividend be increased to euro 1.30 (2009: euro 0.30) per share of common stock and euro 1.32 (2009: euro 0.32) per share … CONTINUED

03/09/2011    10:30 AM

In a surprising move last week, Volkswagen acquired an 8% stake in SGL Carbon SE, with whom BMW has a joint venture for production of carbon fiber for the BMW i models. While BMW and Susanne Klatten (one main BMW shareholder) is watching this closely, Financial Times Germany now reports that VW is trying to play this move down as an investment and backs their claim by waiving a seat in SGL Carbon’s Supervisory Board. “That’s out of question,” a VW Spokesperson told FTD and went on: “Neither are there any plans”.

This might look like a relief at first sight, yet Financial Times also report that the Volkswagen Group has pretty good ties with SGL Carbon, even without being involved in the SGL Supervisory Board. Huber … CONTINUED