Late News

Opel to tackle turnaround plan

RUSSELSHEIM, Germany - The supervisory board of Adam Opel AG will meet Tuesday, Aug. 14, to consider a turnaround plan likely to result in work force cuts.

The German company's new chairman, Carl-Peter Forster, presented the Olympia plan to Rick Wagoner, CEO of parent company General Motors, in Detroit last week. An Opel manager referred to the plan as 'what the management would ideally apply as remedy to cure the company,' but said it must be negotiated with employee representatives on the board. Employee representatives and Forster have said they want to avoid closing entire factories.

The plan also is expected to focus on steps to restore Opel's product line, including niche models, the production of limited series and luxury customization concepts.

- Dorothee Ostle

NAMAD to add 8 board seats

SAN ANTONIO - The National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers voted to expand its board of directors so it can add more nonblack dealers. Steve Harrell, newly elected chairman of the 550-member minority dealer group, said the board voted at its annual conference last week to add eight seats to its board for a total of 28. Nonblack minority dealers will be appointed to most of the positions, said Harrell, president of the Harrell's companies in Atlanta.

Six of NAMAD's 20 directors are nonblack minority dealers.

- Arlena Sawyers

GM awards interiors to suppliers

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - General Motors is giving Lear Corp., Magna International spinoff Intier Automotive and Venture Industries responsibility for vehicle interiors, GM purchasing chief Bo Andersson said Friday, Aug. 10.

The three join Johnson Controls Inc. as Tier 1 suppliers managing such programs, including design and development, and management of other suppliers and components. Johnson Controls will handle GM's minivan platform. The other programs weren't identified.

GM will retain some interior programs in-house, Andersson told those attending the Management Briefing Seminars. But the automaker will continue to make sourcing decisions for all interior components involving Tier 2 and smaller suppliers.

Andersson also said GM is on target to reduce its $86 billion annual purchasing cost by 4 percent or nearly $3.5 billion this year.

- Amy Wilson

BMW nears deal with Magna

GRAZ, Austria - BMW AG is in the final stages of negotiations with Magna Steyr-Daimler-Puch, the Austrian production subsidiary of Canada's Magna Group, to produce the new X3 sport-utility beginning in 2003, according to a consultant familiar with the talks.

According to the source, Magna is building an assembly hall for the vehicle adjacent to its existing plant here, which produces four models for DaimlerChrysler AG: the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the Mercedes-Benz M class, G class and awd E class.

'The building permit for the hall has been approved by the local authorities,' the source said. 'All it needs is BMW's signature.'

BMW expects to sell some 50,000 X3s a year, primarily in Europe. The vehicle has not been ruled out for the U.S. market, although an internal BMW document acknowledges that it may be too small for sale there.

- Dorothee Ostle

You can reach James B. Treece at jtreece@crain.com

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