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Posts Tagged ‘Carl-Peter Forster’

Forster Unexpectedly Quits at Tata

Uncertain impact on plans for Jaguar and Land Rover.

by on Sep.12, 2011

Former Tata Motors chief Carl-Peter Forster.

Carl-Peter Forster has resigned as chief executive officer and managing director of Tata Motors, citing a serious illness in his immediate family. He will remain a non-executive director of Tata, the ambitious Indian automaker that purchased Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford Motor Co. two years ago.

Forster had joined Tata in February, 2010 after a long career with General Motors that ended in 2009 when he supported the sale of majority control of GM’s Opel subsidiary to a consortium of Russian Banks allied with Canadian automotive supplier Magna International Inc.  The deal was scrubbed after a series of executive changes at GM,notably including the ouster of CEO Fritz Henderson who, like Forster, had supported the sale.

“The board respects Carl-Peter’s personal circumstances that led to this move,” Tata Chairman Ratan Tata said following Forster’s resignation. “We would like to thank him for his contributions to the successful development of our company.”

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Tata is the largest of the domestic Indian automakers and arguably the most ambitious.  The Tata brand name is perhaps best known for its Nano model, the world’s cheapest automobile.  But Tata has struggled to expand out of its home market and has been counting on its two British brands to help it become a truly global player in the competitive automotive industry.  But things are clearly not going as well as Tata hoped.


First Look: Tata Pixel Urban Concept Car

This car really does rotate on a dime.

by on Mar.03, 2011

Based on the Nano, the Tata Pixel measures just 10 feet in length and can turn on its own axis thanks to a unique rear wheel design.

Things don’t always go the way they’re planned during auto show previews, as Indian mega-industrialist Ratan Tata discovered during the news conference held by his eponymous Tata Motors at the Geneva Motor Show.

Tata came to the event to watch the debut of his company’s Pixel show car, which it bills as a “concept for a European city car.”  Things went perfectly well until it was time to open the electrically-operated scissor doors.  Suddenly things shorted out in the electronic control panel hidden under the rear hatch, sending nervous technicians scurrying to do a quick re-wiring.

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The brief setback didn’t chase the crowds away, however.  If anything, Tata has gotten plenty of attention since launching the world’s cheapest – and one of the smallest – automobiles, a few years back.  And while the Nano is very much “a car for India,” the Pixel “is a car for the world,” asserted Carl-Peter Forster, the former Opel chief who now runs Tata Motors.

As is immediately obvious, the Nano serves as the starting point for the new Tata Pixel, though it has clearly been refined to meet Western sensibilities.  But size still matters.

Even with the front seats in a normal position, the Tata Pixel offers surprising interior space.

Though only 10 feet, nose-to-tail, the Pixel fits four adults in reasonable comfort thanks to a flexible interior design and a tall roof that allows for upright seating.

Even more intriguing than the swing-up doors, the little coupe uses a system in which the rear wheels rotate in opposite directions, allowing the Pixel to turn on its own axis when parking.

Assisting is something the Indian maker describes as a Zero Turn turoidal traction-drive Infinitely Variable Transmission.

A technician struggles to fix the controls for the Pixel's malfunctioning scissor doors.

The Tata Pixel’s 1.2-liter 3-cylinder turbodiesel gets a stop/start system to eliminate wasteful idling.  That helps it achieve an estimated 60 mpg, according to the maker.

While the stop/start technology is the most likely system to actually make the jump from the concept stage, Forster told that a production version of the Nano-based Pixel “is do-able.”

How long?  It would likely take two to three years, the German executive said as he watched with relief when the electric doors finally began to swing open.

O’Driscoll Leaving as Jaguar Managing Director

Helped steer sale and rebuilding process.

by on Oct.11, 2010

Mike O'Driscoll will retire as Managing Director of Jaguar.

Mike O’Driscoll, a key member of the Jaguar management team that guided the company through its often difficult days under Ford Motor Co. and then through its sale to India’s Tata Motors, will be leaving the company.

With more than 30 years of experience at the British automaker and its U.K. affiliate, Land Rover, O’Driscoll played a critical role in salvaging the two brands during their years as Ford subsidiaries.  He then oversaw the challenging transition as the U.S. maker decided to focus on its core domestic brands and sell off Jaguar-Land Rover.

“Over the last three years we’ve had the opportunity to start the rebuilding,” O’Driscoll told in announcing his decision to retire next March.  “It’s a great way to sign off my career.”

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The legendary Jaguar brand, known for benchmark designs like the classic E-Type sports car, was a financial basket case under British government ownership when Ford decided to buy the maker – after a brief but intense bidding war pitting it against rival General Motors – in 1989.


Is There A “Baby” Jaguar In The Works?

Luxury maker mum on X-Type replacement, “reports” abound.

by on Jul.22, 2010

Is Jaguar readying a replacement for the largely unloved X-Type?

It was, for a time, the best-selling Jaguar ever, but when the British marque decided to abandon the small sedan, few wept at the departure of a model that had seldom received favorable reviews.  Yet the question remains whether any luxury brand with even modest mainstream aspirations can survive without an offering in the compact segment – and there are growing indications that a new “Baby” Jag just might be headed for production.

The original X-Type suffered from the fact that it was a compromise design, sharing much of its underlying platform and componentry with the Mondeo, the mid-market compact produced by Jaguar’s former parent, Ford Motor Co.  Now that the British maker – and its sibling Land Rover – are owned by India’s Tata Motors, a future Baby Jaguar would almost certainly feature an entirely unique platform, or a heavily modified version of the chassis used by the larger and more expensive Jaguar XF.

The British maker has confirmed that it plans to increase its line-up in a bid to boost what are admittedly marginal sales.  The all-new 2011 XJ marks the start of that campaign, but despite its hefty price tag, a luxury maker can rarely survive solely on large premium models.  In today’s highline market, mid- and compact products are the high-demand offerings, the BMW 3-Series proving the point.


A compact sports car, smaller than the current XK, is under development, Jaguar officials confirm.  But beyond that, the maker is being unusually cagey about future products.  In an interview with earlier this year, Jaguar’s managing director Mike O’Driscoll said there were no plans for a new Baby sedan, though his carefully worded comments didn’t rule out the possibility of changes to that strategy.

And since the hiring of former Opel boss Carl-Peter Forster as Tata’s chief executive, insiders say many changes are, indeed, being made.


Nick Reilly to Run Opel – Temporarily

GM's Asian/International boss filling in as Euro CEO sought.

by on Nov.10, 2009

British-born Nick Reilly will temporarily fill in as Opel CEO while GM looks for a permanent replacement for former boss Carl-Peter Forster.

British-born Reilly will temporarily fill in as Opel CEO while GM looks for a permanent replacement for former boss Carl-Peter Forster.

Globe-trotting British auto executive Nick Reilly, who has been running General Motors’ big Asian operations, is relocating halfway around the world – for now, anyway, as the temporary CEO of the maker’s troubled Opel unit.

The German-based Opel is in the midst of turmoil surrounding GM’s decision to back out of its planned sale to a Canadian-Russian consortium led by the giant auto supplier Magna International.  The proposed deal, which had been forcefully backed by the German government, would have left GM a minority player, and was seen as a challenge to using Opel as a global product development center.

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Last week, Opel’s CEO Carl-Peter Forster announced his resignation.  He is expected to go to work for Jaguar-Land Rover, the British luxury marques now owned by India’s Tata Motors.  That put GM into a scramble to find a new Opel boss who could manage the reverberations of the failed sale.  German political leaders have raged about GM’s decision and German workers – who expected to get a 10% stake in the company after the sale – initially staged a walkout and withdrew an offer to grant Opel concessions.


GM Europe Head Resigns Over Opel Sale Decision

Carl-Peter Forster, GM group vp and president of Opel leaves.

by on Nov.06, 2009

 Aufedersein Carl Peter.

Auf wiedersehen Carl-Peter Forster as the Opel/Vauxhaul survival saga continues.

Carl-Peter Forster will be leaving his role as head of European operations and “will advise” the company during the transition to find a new CEO, it was announced by GM today.

Insiders say Forster was taken by surprise by the sudden reversal on Monday by the GM Board of Directors to reject a sale of Opel/Vauxhall to Canadian auto supplier Magna and Sberbank, a large Russian financial institution.

Forster had been a vocal supporter of the sale, as had been German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the German Metal Workers union. The Magna sale was thought to protect more jobs and plants in Germany, while imposing greater burdens on Opel/Vauxhall operations elsewhere in Europe, than a competing bid from a Belgium based investment group.

It was not immediately clear if  Forster was pushed out or he left in a dispute over how many jobs and plants would be closed in an impending revised Opel reorganization, which will be undertaken by GM alone, if government and labor union approvals are forthcoming. Perhaps, Forster pushed the Board too hard to accept a German favored solution.

GM claimed that no other management changes to the Opel Europe organization are being considered at this time, and that all key management roles remain while the search for a CEO for  Opel Europe commences.

GM insiders say it needs to cut at least 30% in structural costs, eliminate 10,000 jobs and close one or more plants for Opel to be viable. The cost of the restructuring is estimated at €3 billion, or $4.5 billion.

Forster will be replaced temporarily by Nick Reilly, the British head of GM’s international operations.