Cost Cuts Squeeze SAE Show Again (3/13/2004)
Engineers have their day in Cobo, though fewer are attending.
Panke: No Apologies from BMW
It doesn't take much to get a debate going in automotive circles these days. Just mention the name BMW. The German manufacturer's radical design direction, along with its high-tech iDrive system, are certain to kick off a storm - if you can find anyone willing to argue on the automaker's behalf. Then again, BMW CEO Helmut Panke, a former nuclear scientist and McKinsey & Co. consultant, is more than capable of standing up in his own defense. And as far as he's concerned, no apologies are necessary. The debate was set off, two years ago, by the introduction of a new 7-Series sedan, with its tall tail and hooded headlamps. Critics and many long-time owners shrieked in horror - there once was even a Web site collecting signatures on a petition calling for the ouster of BMW design chief Chris Bangle. Yet to Panke, "It was a necessary step. We had to move away from designs…that were essentially the same, just in different sizes, what (you might) call different slices from the same sausage."
Panke: No Apologies from BMW (3/13/2004)
Automaker may tweak technology, but there's no going back on design.
Burns Ready for Dana Challenge
In the wake of last year's takeover bid by ArvinMeritor and sudden death of its top executive, Dana Corp. still faces major challenges in remaining competitive in a industry that continues to change. Mike Burns, the former General Motors Corp. executive who was recruited by Dana's board of directors to serve as the company's new CEO, told reporters last week he's still learning the ropes at Dana, one of the world's largest automotive suppliers. The job opened up last fall upon the sudden death of Joe Magliochetti, the Dana CEO who had succeeding in blunting ArvinMeritor's surprise takeover bid during the summer of 2003. Dana had put in place a solid strategic plan before he took the post as CEO, Burns said. "Getting rid of the aftermarket, I think, was the right thing to do," Burns told reporters after a Dana press conference at the annual Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress. "It's easy to get de-focused," said Burns, who was serving as head of GM's operations in Europe when the headhunters approached him about taking the Dana job. Dana Corp. is celebrating its centennial this year and honored its early inventors at SAE. "Kicking off our centennial celebration at SAE was a perfect fit for us," said Burns.
Burns Ready for Dana Challenge (3/13/2004)
Cost cutting and lost business fail to dismay former GM exec.
2003 Maserati Kubang conceptEnlarge Photo
Maserati Facing Moment of Truth by TCC Team (3/8/2004)
Italian automaker’s success – or failure – also will impact Ferrari’s future.