Michael Burns, former president of General Motors Europe, overcame stiffer odds than he may have realized when he was chosen as Dana Corp.'s CEO. An insider at the Toledo, Ohio, parts supplier points out that Burns is the first person to hold the company's top job whose last name did not start with the letter "M" since Jack Martin succeeded Charles Dana as chairman in 1954. Then came Ren McPherson, Gerry Mitchell, Woody Morcott and Joe Magliochetti. Burns begins his job March 1.
SECOND THOUGHTS -- Lest you think Allan Gilmour doesn't have second thoughts about abandoning his retirement to become vice chairman of Ford Motor Co., think again. "I was enjoying full retirement before I rejoined Ford in 2002," he confides. "(But) sometimes I wonder if retiring from my retirement was a smart thing."
TROUBLE WITH BRAND X -- Nissan Motor Co. CEO Carlos Ghosn escaped injury on Feb. 8 when the vehicle he was test driving in downtown Tokyo tangled with a motorcycle. Ghosn was making a turn when the mishap occurred, press reports say, and the two riders on the motorcycle received only minor injuries. And what was Ghosn driving - perhaps a 350Z? Reuters said it was a Porsche owned by Nissan. Said a Nissan spokesman: "It's not uncommon for executives to test drive competitors' cars on weekends to evaluate them."
HIGH DRAMA IN DALARO -- An ad in European car magazines says that on a single day last October, 32 people from the small village of Dalaro, Sweden, bought Volvo S40 sedans. That was a shocker, since the dazzled local Volvo dealer had never sold 32 cars in a single year, and because the event would equate to Los Angeles dealers selling "a couple of million" S40s in a day, says Volvo's Web site. The ad says Volvo dispatched a documentary filmmaker to unravel the mystery. The result - an overlong X-File wannabe that shed little light on the phenomenon - can be seen at volvocars.co.uk. Automotive News Europe pressed Volvo for details, but the automaker would say only that more will be revealed in the next few weeks.