Fiat: Punto stays
Fiat Auto denied plans to reduce output at its main Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy.
Italian press reports said Fiat is considering transferring production of 100,000 Puntos a year from Mirafiori to Poland or Turkey.
'There are no plans to move the Punto out of Mirafiori,' a Fiat spokesman said.
In 2001, Fiat Auto built 505,685 Puntos at three Italian plants. About 300,000 were made at Melfi, with the remainder split between Termini Imerese and Mirafiori.
But Fiat will stop building the Panda at Mirafiori. Fiat's so-called Small car, due in September 2003 to replace both the Panda and Seicento, will be manufactured in Poland. In spring 2003, Fiat will phase out the Marea, also currently built at Mirafiori.
- Luca Ciferri
Becker loses Opel
Opel became the second carmaker after Nissan to cancel its contract with financially troubled dealer group Auto Becker in Düsseldorf, Germany.
'This was necessary as part of the restructuring of our network,' said an Opel spokesman. Nissan canceled its contract in March.
Jaguar Deutschland said it may also transfer business from Becker to a new dealer in Düsseldorf.
Insolvency proceedings against Holding Auto Becker GmbH & Co KG began May 1.
New Covisint office
Online automotive exchange Covisint opened an office in Frankfurt and appointed four senior executives.
Frankfurt is Covisint's third office in Europe, joining the headquarters in Amsterdam and a sales office in France.
The new executives will be based in Frankfurt. Heinrich Eichenauer, previously chief information officer of Magna Steyr, joins as executive sales director, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Martin Thiele becomes sales director, tiers Germany. He was formerly e-business director of Continental.
Philipp Popov and Wolfgang Bernhart will be responsible for developing Covisint's Daimler-Chrysler business.
Up and down sales
The French new-car market recovered last month. Sales in April rose to 208,094 units from 201,359 a year earlier thanks to demand for domestic models such as the Citroen C3, Peugeot 307, Renault Laguna and Clio.
Renault sales were up by 8.4 percent to 56,590 units; Peugeot sales rose 7.7 percent to 44,654 units; and Citroen sales climbed 9.1 percent to 27,963.
But Spain was down last month. New-car sales fell 7.6 percent year-on-year in April to 114,021 units, provisional data from ANFAC, Spain's National Carmakers' Association, showed last week.
In the first four months of the year, the number of new cars sold in Spain fell 7.5 percent to 445,652 units while four-wheel-drive car sales fell 12.4 percent to 23,458 units.