Press Report : GM boss Carl-Peter Forster set for JLR

Dominic O’Connell, The Sunday Times, 8th November, 2009

Carl-Peter Forster, the departing boss of General Motors Europe, has been lined up to take charge of Jaguar Land Rover, the Midlands-based luxury carmaker.

Senior sources in Frankfurt and Detroit said Forster, who led GM Europe through its recent turbulent negotiations with the German Government and would-be buyer Magna, was sounded out about the job earlier in the year, and is expected to join within a few months. GM Europe, which owns Opel in Germany and Vauxhall in Britain, announced on Friday evening that Forster was leaving.

Forster, 55, was born and spent part of his youth in London. He made his name as a fast-rising star at BMW in the 1990s and was head of production at the German carmaker during its ill-fated ownership of MG Rover and Land Rover.

When BMW decided in 2000 to cut its losses and sell its “English patients”, Forster was among a group of executives who left. He joined GM the following year. Since then he has led a lengthy restructuring of Opel and Vauxhall, closing plants and cutting costs. He has had some success in moving the Opel brand upmarket.

When BMW decided in 2000 to cut its losses and sell its “English patients”, Forster was among a group of executives who left. He joined GM the following year. Since then he has led a lengthy restructuring of Opel and Vauxhall, closing plants and cutting costs. He has had some success in moving the Opel brand upmarket.

The German sources said that Forster was likely to be appointed to a senior role at Tata Motors, owner of Jaguar Land Rover, and would take charge of the group’s British operations. Tata declined to comment.

The Indian manufacturer bought Jaguar Land Rover, which employs 15,000 people, from Ford for £1.3 billion last year. Sales were hammered by the credit crunch and the firm approached the government for aid to help it through the recession. Months of negotiations followed, with JLR eventually pulling out, saying it would raise finance from commercial sources.

UK officials will this week press GM for details of its restructuring plan for Opel and Vauxhall after it controversially scrapped a sale to Magna, a car-parts maker, last week. Fritz Henderson, GM’s chief executive, is expected to visit Germany to calm down widespread anger over the decision.

It is understood that Britain will push for GM to restructure Opel/Vauxhall with a minimum of financial assistance from the state — Magna was seeking $4.5 billion (£2.7 billion) in loans. It may float the idea of GM in America giving up its right to royalty payments from the European companies.

[Source: The Sunday Times]

Clive Goldthorp

About the Author:

Clive claims that his interest in the BMC>MG story dates back to his childhood in the 1960s when the family’s garage premises were leased to a tenant with an Austin agency. However, back in the 1920s and 1930s, his grandmother was one of the country’s first female Garage Proprietors so cars probably run in his genes! Admits to affairs with Alfa Romeos, but has more recently owned an 06/06 MG TF 135 and then a 15/64 MG3 Style… Clive, who was AROnline’s News Editor for nearly four years, stood down from that role in order to devote more time to various Motor Racing projects but still contributes articles on as regular basis as his other commitments permit.

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