Sure, auto suppliers are under a lot of pressure from automakers to cut costs. But at least one supplier exec hasn't lost his sense of humor. Behr GmbH and Co. of Stuttgart, Germany, a maker of cooling systems, marked the opening of its new North American headquarters in Troy, Mich., last week. For a special effect, CEO Horst Geidel and other executives watched as a radiator, with the word "Behr" visible in the center, filled with a reddish fluid. "It's water, not the blood of automotive suppliers," Geidel quipped.
SLAMMING THE 7 - A Web site called features a petition to "Stop Chris Bangle," the design chief for BMW AG. Petitioners want him fired because they are unhappy with the design of the
7 series flagship, which went on sale in the United States in January. The site says the petition has 2,072 signatures, but at least one of the entries is obviously bogus: "I hate myself for this design. - Chris Bangle."
LENDING A HAND - Harold Kutner, former head of purchasing at General Motors, has been spotted at Covisint LLC headquarters in Southfield, Mich. But he's not having second thoughts about retirement. Kutner, 61, a driving force in the creation of Covisint in 2000, is not a Covisint employee and is not getting paid, the company says. "He's not here every day, and he's just here for a few hours at a time," said Covisint spokesman Dan Jankowski. "He's helping us take a look at our strategy and make sure what we're doing fits in, based on his knowledge (of) where the marketplace is going." Kutner, a member of Covisint's board, retired in December 2001 after 39 years with GM.
IT'S, UH, EVOLUTION - Design chief Wayne Cherry says General Motors won't go on a nostalgia trip with the next Pontiac GTO, which will be based on the Holden Monaro. Reviving a popular nameplate raises the possibility of retro design, Cherry says, but it's equally valid to approximate what the GTO, which last appeared in 1974, would look like if it had continued to evolve. In this case, that means light changes to the Monaro, says Cherry: "The Monaro coupe comes so close to so many people's imagery of what that vehicle would be today that it makes a lot of sense from a design perspective."