GMW?

There are rumors flying around that GM is about to gobble up BMW. Hoax, I'm sure.
Has anybody heard anything in this regard - anything that's remotely
smells like fact, to be specific ?
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I've heard nothing, but it would not really shock me.
GMH do own Opel and they certainly used them well here in Australia. Of course, the familiar car (Sentator/Omega) is the Holden Commodore.
Have a look at the Holden (www.holden.com.au) website and have a look at the Torana TT36 car and you'll see an interesting resemblence.
-- Jason 8MP Australia
| There are rumors flying around that GM is about to gobble up BMW. Hoax, | I'm sure. | | Has anybody heard anything in this regard - anything that's remotely | smells like fact, to be specific ?
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I think, with the advent of Deutsche Bank lowering it's ownership of Daimler and moving towards divesting entirely, that we will see the breakup and sell-off of Daimler-Chrysler first and then a little bit down the road, BMW as well.
It's become almost inevitable, particularly with the paradigm shift in relations between German banks and German industry (the Quandts act, essentially, in the same way towards BMW as banks do to Daimler and Volkswagen....creating that mutual circle of protection). Though it isn't dictated that the buyer will necessarily be another car company.
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Vuestra Merced wrote:

Total horseshit.
There were rumors that Ford was going to take over BMW a number of years ago.
Big problem - the majority share of BMW stock is held by one FAMILY - who put it in a non-revokable foundation that won't allow any single member of the family to sell their share. The family (Quandt - if you want to search the web) has never made any mention of ever selling BMW. It has made the family one of the richest in the world, and they seem to like the cars.
Usual bullshit internet rumor.. are you sure you're not trying to start it?
http://www.forbes.com/finance/lists/10/2002/LIR.jhtml?passListId &passYear 02&passListType=Person&uniqueId24H&datatype=Person
http://www.bmwgroup.com/e/nav/index.html?http://www.bmwgroup.com/e/0_0_www_bmwgroup_com/verantwortung/stiftungen.shtml
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Despite "internet rumours" (are you trying to start another?) to the contrary, the Quandt family, cumulatively, does not own or control 50% of BMW shares. They hold the biggest block, but not the majority of shares. They are close, but the cigar is not yet theirs. So. all things being equal, there is indeed a possibility the company could be sold against their wishes......it'd be tough, but no one ever though an American would gain control of Man U either.

No it's not. The holdings of Johanna and her 2 children were moved from personal ownership to company ownership in the mid-'90s (which is why the stock continues to be valued at book rather than market cap), which created more difficulty in selling on the market, but by no means stifled their ability to do whatever they wanted with their shares individually or together.
The reality is this...the Quandts create a buffer between the hungry business world (takeover) and BMW, and BMW allows the Quandts to imply more influence on the car company's business than would normally be afforded the major stockholder (think Kerkorian, Chrysler and Daimler's buyout). But given the Quandt family expectation of social responsibility, justice for the workers and service to the community over concerns for the bottom line, there could easily come a time the needs of BMW would not measure up to the expectations of the family.
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And I thought I read that the Quandts might have been ready to sell over the Rover affair.
DAS
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I know I read that it was their impetus and influence that caused both the Rover sale as well as the release of Rietzle and Pischetsrieder, so I don't see why had BMW not sold Rover the Quandts might not have considered selling off some/all BMW shares.
The truth is that BMW needs the Quandts in their corner given the share block they control. If those shares were scattered about the world otherwise, the prospect of a BMW takeover would have probably been realized long ago.
The Quandts protect BMW from takeover attempts, and BMW satisfies the Quandt's bottom line and social agenda. It's a nice relationship, but it is not a lock.
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Ross Garrett wrote:

According to Forbes - they've had the cigar for quite a number of years.

Yes it is. You've fallen behind on the history. The stock of ALL the family members was moved to the foundation with the specific intent to keep any one family member from selling off their stock and getting the family below the magic 51% share point. This was covered in a BMW-CCA Roundel article back when the Ford (bogus also) rumors were floating around.

I think the reality is - the Quandts like and enjoy owning BMW. Certainly Johanna does - there are several non-US spec cars kept for her use in NYC, and she drives them herself.
But

Your paragraph above is self-contradictory. If they decided BMW didn't measure up and abandoned it - how would thier expectation of social responsibility, justice for the workers* and service to the community be served? Certainly by controlling BMW - they could better direct how the company fulfills these goals.
* = are the workers injustly treated? Exactly WHAT does this mean? It sounds like something the USSR would have printed in Pravda in the '50's.
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You are extrapolating with error. Read it again for fact.

The family doesn't have quite 50% let alone 51%. And the shares are in company control. Yes, their companies, and it creates a difficulty with selling shares. But under no circumstances have they abdicated their right to sell shares mutually or individually. That would be patently absurd....and they are far to successful to act with absurdity.

I get Roundel, have for many many years, and I have never seen an article about the Quandts that makes the claim you are making here.

The Quandts were very close to releasing their BMW stock during the "English Patient" affair. The idea that they are romantic about any of this is silly. Their tie is doubtless enriched by the father's legacy, but they can always drive a BMW without owning the company.

By investing in companies that would follow their particular vision of how things should be in this world. In contrast to what power you think they have, they do not have the power to tell BMW what to do, if BMW doesn't want to listen. Therefor if and/or when BMW takes a road the Quandts disagree with the options become few...power struggles.....courts.....sale.

But their control is allowed, not decreed. Simply owning the shares doesn't afford them control in everyday management decisions. They have that because BMW permits it and allows places on certain boards for the family members. The minute their influence is mitigated (and they become nothing more than passive shareholders) they are long gone.
You seem to think because they own the stock they run the company.
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1) Quandt family status report from Mar 2000 (BBC)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/679563.stm
2) The Quandts own 46.6% (Forbes from 2003)
http://www.forbes.com/finance/lists/10/2003/LIR.jhtml?passListId &passYear 03&passListType=Person&uniqueId=SWC0&datatype=Person
3) Example of mis-reporting, Quandts have a majority? (San Diego Metropolitan, Jun 2003, as shown in Google and URL) Or have they upped their share?
http://www.sandiegometro.com/2003/jun/roadtest.html
4) 46.6% confirmed in an article no older than 2002 (Lexikon.freenet/Wikipedia):
http://lexikon.freenet.de/Familie_Quandt
5) 46.6% confirmed and interesting fact that 40% of 'distributed' shareholding (i.e. about 19% of total shareholding) is in the USA added (Boersenzeitung Jun 2002)
http://www.boersen-zeitung.com/online/redaktion/aktuell/vollansicht_st.php?artikelID _108_6_146_12_224_59_221_
6) Nugget: Guenther Quandt's first wife, Magda, left him for Joseph Goebbels sometime befire 1945....
http://www.br-online.de/kultur/literatur/lesezeichen/20021020/20021020_1.html
7) A more recent analysis (early 2005?) confirms 46.6%
http://www.wer-zu-wem.de/firma/BMW.html
None of the reports mentioned the possibility that the Quandt shares enjoy disproprotionate voting rights (a feature not found in 'Anglo-Saxon' economies), so we can assume that their vote counts 'only' for 46.6%.
Some of the reports have mentioned that the Quandts are not involved in the nitty-gritty of the business, but one can imagine that with such a large shareholding (next-biggest c. 5% by an insurance company) they probably just need to murmur a request for the management to jump to it...
DAS
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(snip some excellent research cites)

They all hold seats on BMW boards. Stefan and Susanne are on the Supervisory Board (and I think Stefan is head of that board), so they are pretty involved in the corporate decision making of the company...not only by ownership influence but by actual appointment as well.

I tend to agree, but only on the premise that BMW believes the Quandt ownership is vital to their independence. If BMW ever decides they don't need the Quandts, then they can effectively completely shut of their influence on the company. I don't believe it will happen anytime soon, but it is the case.
In the manner that German banks have always protected German companies via close-to ownership (which was an integral part of the rebuilding of German industry after WWII), the Quandts are valuable to BMW in the same sense.
Despite my having "fallen behind the history" as Don claims, there are a number of fabulous books about BMW as a business and all of this exists in them. 2004's "Driven" is an exceptional read that every BMW lover should get an opportunity to enjoy. They don't only build great cars...I think they are a great company. Of course they are basically small-fires, so greatness is easier maintain under that circumstance. A couple hiccups in recent history...Rover for example...hasn't altered what is essentially an exceptionally well managed and integrated firm. It is very impressive to read how that company functions on a day to day basis as well in long-look strategic planning sessions.
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So it seems. Highly focussed.
I knew a chap who was an engineer in Munich and wasn't looking forward to his assignment at Rover...
I find it interesting that the BMW unit sales in the first four months of the year were noticeably above Merc's (ballpark 400 000 v 360 000). Of course total sales at DB (even without Chrysler) are still much greater because of lorry and bus sales, but BMW certainly is showing 'em how to do it. Maybe DC management is wasting time on Chrysler and, above all, aerospace.
DAS
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Indeed, Chrysler is holding up (financially) the DC car business, but I still think that Merc is suffering the consequences of its 'adventures'. I bet you did not know they were into electrical household goods for a time. One disastrous diversion after another. Hard to remember that BMW was once so far down in the dumps in the early fifties that Merc almost bought it.
I agree that this is unlikely to continue, especially now that Schrempp is gone (notably without a seat on the advisory board or big payoff). Mercedes still owns the top end of the car market with the S-Class enjoying far higher standing globally than the 7. Statistically invalid anecdote: quite a few of the drivers of my local London 'minicab' company (not the famous black cabs) have Mercs and when I ask them why they tend to buy Mercs (never BMWs) they answer that the clients who specify specific models always ask for Mercedes.
It is only my guess, but I think that the three-pointed star is a far more recognised logo than the roundel globally. Some years ago I read that in fact the star was number three or thereabouts in the world recognition and respect stakes, up there with Coke et al, but since then many things have changed, not least the rise of Microsoft/Windows.
In the UK Merc have taken radical steps to deal with customer service; so far all the dealerships in London, Birmingham and Manchester -- the three biggest cities -- that were not already in Merc's hands have been bought up. So now one is, for example, a customer of Mercedes-Benz London and one can go to any of the outlets in the city, with service records being held on a central computer. In some cases service points have been separated from sales, and some used car sites have been separated from new sales.
We'll see how effective this is.
As regards the issue of quality, there is varying experience but the top management has publicly acknowledged that it's an issue. There is an urban story (myth?) that in the 'old' days (approx pre-early nineties, say) a car was designed and built to certain technical standards and then priced. Then they started building to price points. No doubt there were signs, such as the damping (lack of) of ash tray lids. Perhaps it was only a reaction to the increasing competition, but there were consequences for the marque itself.
Mercedes has been at the forefront of automotive development literally from the beginning and it would be a great shame if it all goes to the dogs. Nothing that a bit of management humility and attention to quality can't fix.
DAS
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I seem to recall seeing a car listed on Roadfly a few months back as being a GMW. I believe it was an E30 -- but could be mistaken -- that had a GM engine. Why anyone would do such a thing is beyond me.
Not an answer to your question, but related nontheless.
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Ok, it was an LS1 engine, and I was right about it being an E30. But it's worse, it was an E30 M3. Sacrilege!
http://bimmer.roadfly.com/bmw/forums/e30/5364127-1.html
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