Osnabrueck. Beleaguered German coachbuilder Karmann has lured a top sales executive from rival Magna Steyr.
Peter Harbig, Magna Steyr's vice president of sales and marketing, will quit the Austrian contract manufacturer to join Karmann.
Magna and Karmann compete for vehicle assembly contracts. While Magna is winning new orders and breaking production records, Karmann is cutting back production and will announce big job cuts in the summer.
Harbig was responsible for procuring assembly contracts at Magna Steyr. He joined the coachbuilder from ThyssenKrupp in 2004.
Private reasons apparently played a role in Harbig's decision to leave Magna Steyr.
Harbig studied in Osnabrueck, Westphalia, where Karmann is based, and he was born in the Westphalian city of Coesfeld.
Harbig's successor hasn't been determined. A Magna Steyr spokesman said CEO Manfred Remmel will temporarily take over his duties.
Magna Steyr built 230,070 cars last year, up from 227,244 units in 2004 and 118,807 unts in 2003.
Magna Steyr launched production of its latest model, the European version of the Jeep Commander, in January. The coachbuilder builds five other Chrysler group products including the Chrysler 300C and Chrysler Voyager, as well as the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz G class and Saab 9-3 convertible.
Karmann built 12,500 cars last year compared with 35,000 in 2004. The company builds cars that are selling slow, or reaching the end of their life.
Its contracts include orders to build the Chrysler Crossfire, Audi A4 convertible and Mercedes-Benz CLK.
You may e-mail Guido Reinking at [email protected]