Senior staff changes made headlines in April. General Motors’ chief exec stepped down, PSA fired its chief exec, design boss Chris Bangle left BMW and Ron Dennis moved away from Formula One to concentrate on McLaren’s road car business.
There was some positive news for the European motor industry when the German scrappage scheme delivered a 40 per cent boost in sales. After a long wait and much speculation, the UK government followed suit and launched its own scheme, offering a £2000 discount on new car sales. In the same month, business secretary Peter Mandelson went to Scotland to try the electric Mini E and promote a £250m incentive scheme due to start in 2011 for buyers of electric cars.
We revealed exclusive details of Porsche’s plans to build a three-door version of the Panamera in the spirit of the 928, with the green light subject to a recovery in the luxury car market. At the same time, Porsche confirmed that is considering using smaller, supercharged engines.
Talking of Porsche: in our group test of seven £7000 runabouts, Steve Sutcliffe concluded that the winner, the Hyundai i10, was “as impressive an achievement as any new Porsche or BMW from the past 10 years”. The new Suzuki Alto came an admirable second, with the Kia Picanto third.