BMW is doing some internal work by giving their coveted M Division a new leader. Since 2011 it’s been under the helm of Dr. Friedrich Nitschke, who’s responsible for cars like the new M3, M4 and M5.
Taking his place is former managing director of Audi Quattro GmbH, Franciscus van Meel. This could be a sign of things to come, such as the influx of xDrive all-wheel drive M-cars. All-wheel drive is becoming very popular and more readily available, especially in the luxury performance department after Mercedes-Benz added 4MATIC all-wheel drive to the S-Class and E-Class AMG models.
Although BMW has yet to equip one of their signature models with xDrive, X5 M and X6 M aside, rumors have suggested the addition of all-wheel drive to the next-gen BMW M5.
Franciscus van Meel assumes management of BMW M GmbH
Munich. Franciscus van Meel (48) will take over as Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW M GmbH from 1 January 2015. He is the successor to Dr. Friedrich Nitschke (59) who will be retiring at the end of the year.
Francisus van Meel, who will already be joining the BMW Group on 1 October, was last active as Managing Directory of quattro GmbH, a subsidiary of Audi AG. Since 1996 he has held various management positions in chassis development and the technical steering of vehicle projects at Audi AG before becoming Managing Director of quattro GmbH in 2012.
Dr. Friedrich Nitschke worked for the BMW Group for a total of 36 years. Since joining the company in 1978 he has held management positions in various company areas before taking over as director of development strategy, steering and testing. From 2007 to 2011 he headed vehicle development of the MINI brand. In 2011 he became Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW M GmbH. Under his leadership the category BMW M Performance Automobiles was created as well as the new generation of the BMW M3 and BMW M4 models developed.
Dr. Herbert Diess, Member of the Board of Management for Development: “The position of M GmbH on the market has never been better in the company’s history and it continues to achieve sales record after sales record. Friedrich Nitschke has done outstanding work over the past years and has made a crucial contribution to the success of the company. The entire Board of Management of BMW AG would like to express its gratitude to him.”
– By: Chris Chin