BMW sold its 100,000th Mini Cooper in the United States in February - more than two years ahead of schedule. In March 2002, when the car was launched in the United States, BMW expected sales of about 20,000 annually. That estimate was way off. Last year, 36,032 Mini Coopers were sold in the United States. The original Mini, sold here from 1964 to 1967, chalked up sales of only about 10,000 units. It was withdrawn when it couldn't meet new safety and emissions rules.
MORE WOMEN IN THE RANKS -- Nissan Motor Co. CEO Carlos Ghosn says the automaker plans to triple the number of female managers in Japan to 120. In a speech at a Feb. 23 symposium in Tokyo, Ghosn said Nissan plans to raise the percentage of women in its managerial ranks in Japan to 5 percent by the end of March 2008 from the current 1.6 percent. The current percentage is higher than the industry average of less than 1 percent but lower than the national average of 2.8 percent for all industries, Ghosn said. "We are wasting the talents of many of our capable female employees," he said. "As a company we can do a better job of involving women."
MONEY TALKS -- Maybe this is the reason Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has become so close to his state's car dealers: A new state economic impact report says vehicle sales account for 20 percent of retail sales in California. Total revenue from goods and services sold by California's franchised dealerships was almost $96 billion in 2004. Total full- and part-time employment stood at 149,523 people involved in the sale of more than 2 million new vehicles. Dealerships paid an estimated $6.9 billion in federal, state and local taxes.
KICKOFF -- Hyundai Motor Co. scored big with those who witnessed the unveiling of its Grandeur premium car last week during the Geneva auto show. When workers pulled the tarp off the Grandeur, out rolled 500 blue soccer balls from the set resembling a soccer goal. You can imagine the scramble for the balls by reporters and others who had waited half an hour for the unveiling and press conference. Within six seconds, all the balls were gone. The soccer connection, by the way, was to celebrate an extension of Hyundai's sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup until 2014.