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BMW names new boss for Australia

New arrival: New BMW Group Australia managing director Phil Horton and the new BMW X3 that is set to be launched in March.

New BMW Oz MD Phil Horton set to arrive just in time for all-new X3 launch

BMW logo23 Dec 2010

BMW Group Australia’s new managing director will have to hit the ground running when he takes up his appointment on February 1, just a month out from one of the brand’s biggest new-model launches for the year, the all-new mid-sized X3 SUV.

Phil Horton, an Englishman whose most recent posting was as managing director of BMW Middle East, replaces Stavros Yallouridis who resigned suddenly last month while attending the global presidents’ meeting at BMW’s headquarters in Munich.

The new appointment was announced by BMW’s regional director for Asia, Pacific and South Africa, Guenther Seemann, who said Mr Horton had had a distinguished automotive industry career and would bring a wealth of experience to the role.

“Phil Horton has a proven track record in highly competitive markets around the world, and he is perfectly suited to the task of driving the business in Australia,” he said.

Mr Horton started his automotive industry career with Ford of Britain in 1977, before joining the BMW Group in 1995 as marketing director of BMW Great Britain.

 center imageLeft: BMW regional director for Asia, Pacific and South Africa Guenther Seemann.

He later moved to South Africa as sales and marketing director for BMW in that country before taking up his most recent role in the Middle East, where he oversaw BMW Group operations in 14 countries.

Over the past month, BMW Group Australia’s finance director Peter Buchauer has been acting managing director, as Mr Yallouridis left the company immediately.

Australian-born Mr Yallouridis returned to Melbourne last year from BMW Group Hellas in Greece, where he spent almost six years at BMW’s newly established national sales company. He oversaw significant sales growth for BMW, and also the Mini and BMW Motorrad brands, over that period.

So far this year, BMW sales in Australia are up by 4.6 per cent in a market up 11.8 per cent. Rivals Mercedes-Benz and Audi are up 16.4 per cent and 16.9 per cent respectively.

In passenger car and SUV sales where the German luxury brands go head to head, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are set for an enthralling finish to the year. To the end of November, BMW had registered 16,384 cars and SUVs, while Mercedes-Benz had clocked up 16,345 sales – a difference of just 39 units.

Mercedes-Benz has also sold more than 3000 commercial vehicles.

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