Kocks successor named
Dirk Grosse-Leege, currently group spokesman for German railway operator Deutsche Bahn, will succeed Klaus Kocks as Volkswagen group's head of communications.
Kocks resigned last autumn following a disagreement with then-VW Chairman Ferdinand Piëch. Kocks finally left VW on January 1.
As VW's chief spokesman, Kocks gained notoriety on several issues - notably for his fierce defense of the company against charges that VW purchasing chief J. Ignacio Lopez stole thousands of confidential documents from General Motors.
Bernd Pischetsrieder, who took over as VW chairman on April 1, took his time to find Kocks' successor.
Grosse-Leege, 37, won't take up his new position until September 1. For the time being, Stephan Grühsem, the 39-year-old head of Volkswagen's brand communication team, will continue to act as Kocks' temporary replacement.
Once Grosse-Leege arrives at VW, Grühsem will become the top public relations executive at Audi. Grühsem will replace Rainer Nistl, who is retiring at age 58. Nistl had a good working relationship with Franz Josef-Paefgen, the former Audi boss who now runs Bentley, leads VW group research and is in charge of motor racing activities. But Nistl has reportedly clashed with Martin Winterkorn, the new head of VW's 'sporty' group that includes the Audi, Seat and Lamborghini brands.
Finally, Hans-Gerd Bode, currently working in Grühsem's department, will succeed Grühsem as head of VW brand communication.
Undrivable, but desirable
In a world where children are increasingly obsessed by computer games, the simple pleasure of a owning a scale-model toy car is in danger of losing its attraction.
But Burago has come up with a clever solution: Make exciting models of cars that do not exist.
The Italian company, which has spent the last 30 years making toy versions of actual cars, asked Giugiaro Design to pen a series of 'dream models.'
The first car, a sporty coupe, is called Prima ('first' in Italian). Burago plans to introduce at least two specially designed scale models a year.
But the year's most desired toy car could be a 'dream model' that has already been seen in reality: The Alfa Romeo Brera coupe, derived from the concept that Italdesign-Giugiaro showed to critical acclaim in March at the Geneva auto show.
Sources say that Mattel of the USA, also Ferrari's official scale-model maker, acquired the rights to reproduce the Brera.
The small-scale Brera should begin appearing in toyshops in September.
Astra-nomical sales gains
German sales of the Opel Astra are expected to rise sharply in the next few months - although the increase will likely have a lot to do with the popularity of a certain seven-seat compact minivan.
The Astra, which was once a bestseller, is now No. 5 in Germany. To prevent the model from falling any lower in statistics issued by motor vehicle agency Kraftfahrtbundesamt (KBA), Opel will no longer record the sales of the Astra and the Zafira compact minivan separately. The Zafira, which was launched in 1999, is based on the Astra.
An Opel spokesman confirmed to sister publication Automobilwoche: 'From now on we will only give a single number code to the KBA.'
Enzo's 250 million gift
Piero Ferrari, son of Ferrari founder Enzo, won't sell any of the 10 percent of Ferrari SpA shares he owns at the initial public offering - or IPO - that is planned for later this year.
'These shares were a birthday gift from my father,' said Piero. 'In addition to a clear economic value, for me they also have a strong emotional value.
'For this reason, I won't sell any shares in the IPO because I want them to go to my father's grandchildren.'
Piero said his father would have been delighted by the IPO, because 'it proves our company is today a unique mix of technology and luxury cars.'
Fiat group owns the remaining 90 percent of Ferrari. The Prancing Horse's IPO will be coordinated by three banks, two from Italy, Ubm and Caboto-IntesaBCI, and one from Germany, Deutsche Bank.
The IPO is expected to value Ferrari as whole at around 2.5 billion.