Dispute rages at AutoNova plant
STOCKHOLM - The owner of TWR Group is ready to discuss selling his stake in Sweden's AutoNova plant to Volvo Car, Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri reported on March 24.
TWR's Tom Walkinshaw was also quoted as saying production at the plant in Uddevalla, Sweden, could resume within 48 hours.
AutoNova, which produces Volvo C70 coupes and convertibles, is 51 percent owned by TWR and 49 percent by Volvo. It has been idle for two weeks because of a row between the two owners.
Dagens Industri said Walkinshaw would accept Volvo's Skr100 million (A12 million) bid for his stake as long as Volvo accepted the findings of an independent arbitrator over AutoNova's 1998 losses.
Volvo spokesman Ingmar Hesselfors said: 'If TWR forces us, we are prepared to wait until AutoNova goes bankrupt and take it over then.'
Tege Tornvall & Reuters News Service
Smart's Mauer set for Saab move
RENNINGEN, Germany - Michael Mauer, chief designer at DaimlerChrysler's Smart, will become the new head of design at Saab beginning May 1. Mauer, 38, styled the Smart roadster, unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show last September. Mauer also designed the SLK roadster while at Mercedes-Benz. In his new position, Mauer will report directly to GM design boss Wayne Cherry.
`Saviour of VW' dies aged 84
LONDON - The British army officer who was responsible for the resurrection of Volkswagen after Word War II has died at age 84. Major Ivan Hirst was stationed at VW's German headquarters in 1945 and given give the job of repairing the damaged business - despite having no auto industry experience. The move was fiercely criticized, but Hirst managed to transform VW into a commercially viable operation. He once said: 'Nobody ever gave me a brief. I was simply ordered to go there and do something.'
Lotus expands US operations
Lotus Engineering has announced an expansion of its US operations into with the purchase of a test facility and the opening of a new engineering center in the Detroit area.
Formerly known as the Michigan Automotive Research Corporation (Marco), the new testing operation is based in Ann Arbor. It will feature 27 engine and transmission test beds, and will employ around 50 engineers, technicians, and administrative staff.
To accompany the testing site, Lotus will open an engineering center in Southfield, Michigan, in July.