Towers is talking to Proton ... no, sorry, Prodrive
John Towers, chairman of MG Rover, gets the prize for Freudian slip of the week.
Addressing a group of journalists following a media-MG Rover golf outing, Towers was talking about the possibility of entering the motor sports arena in the British Touring Car Championship when he said: 'We are already talking to Proton about this.'
Towers realized his error immediately, saying: 'I don't believe I said that.' He actually meant the British specialist racing company Prodrive.
But the slip did not go unnoticed among journalists. MG Rover has been repeatedly involved in rumors about a joint venture with Proton, the Malaysian manufacturer.
Hughes quits Lockheed
Just six months into his new job, former Opel and GM Europe Chairman Lou Hughes stepped down as president of Lockheed Martin Corp. on October 31.
Once seen as a possible successor to General Motors Chairman Jack Smith, Hughes left GM in late April to join the aerospace company. At GM, Hughes, 51, most recently had been executive vice president of new business strategies. Before that, he headed GM's international operations in Zurich.
In a statement, Hughes said he is leaving Lockheed Martin for family reasons. Robert Stevens, 49, Lockheed Martin's chief financial officer, will succeed Hughes.
Japan, a country where minis make up a third of the entire market, is down to its last 1,000. Rover Minis, that is. Minis with a capital 'M'. Not the other kind, minis with a small 'm' and engines of 660cc.
Japan has been the world's largest market for the Rover Mini, but BMW Japan Corp. said it expects to sell its last one by year end.
It says it still has the basic Mini Mayfair and sporty Mini coupe in stock, as well as special limited-edition 40th anniversary editions of both, but all are clearing out fast.
Spaniard to set Fiat style
Fiat Auto has named Humberto Rodriguez as its new style director. The position coordinates all the styling and design activities for Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Lancia.
Rodriguez, 46, replaces Ermanno Cressoni, who remains within the company as head of advanced design. The Spaniard worked for the Volkswagen group for more than 25 years in design and project engineering. He was at Audi from 1972 to 1989, and at Seat from 1989 to 1998.
The move strengthens the influence of foreigners at the top of Fiat Auto's styling departments. Lancia's styling center is run by American Mike Robinson, while Alfa Romeo's is controlled by Greece-born Andreas Zapatinas.
However, Roberto Giolito, from Italy, is responsible for special projects and concept cars for Fiat, while two Germans are responsible for production cars: Peter Fassbender for exterior design and Peter Jansen for interiors.