Volkswagen's Auto City announces the first victim of its recent decline in sales; Germany's biggest industrial union nominates a new president; BMW and General Motors plan to cooperate on hydrogen-fueled car and more.
Volkswagen's Auto City
VW Sends Sales Chief Packing
Volkswagen's recent sales slump found its first victim. On Tuesday, Head of Sales Robert Büchelhofer tendered his resignation, effective immediately; the company gave no official explanation. However, news reports attributed the departure specifically to slow sales of the luxury Phaeton sedan, which went on the market in 2002. The Dresden-built Phaeton has sold only 3,009 units since its launch last May, well short of the 20,000-a-year target.
New Chief Nominated for IG Metall
Jürgen Peters was nominated late Tuesday to be president of IG Metall, ending a prolonged struggle for the top spot at the German industrial workers' union. His rival for the position, Berthold Huber, is expected to replace Peters as vice-president. A vote on the nomination is scheduled for October. Shortly after the nomination, Peters told Reuters news agency that the union will lead massive protests against planned reductions in social benefits. He had already promised Schröder's government a "hot May" full of protests.
BMW in Hydrogen-Powered Parts Deal
BMW and General Motors/Opel have formed a consortium to develop standardized hydrogen tank parts. According to Larry Burns, head of research and development at GM, the companies aim to create global standards and draw up specifications for subcontractors -- for instance, for the part that would connect the hydrogen pump to the vehicle. Hydrogen fuel is being developed as a clean-air replacement for gasoline and diesel fuel.
Allianz Issues New Shares
German insurance giant Allianz will issue new shares on April 15, as part of a planned capital increase. For every 15 old Allianz shares, shareholders will receive seven new shares, the company said. The price of the new shares will be fixed closer to the issue date.
Compiled with information from wire services.