Tuesday, 18 June 2013

JLR taps BMW for manufacturing supremo

JaguarLandRover (JLR) is appointing Wolfgang Stadler as its new director of manufacturing. In this high profile role, Stadler will be responsible for JLR’s global manufacturing operations and will report directly to Dr Ralf Speth, chief executive officer.

Stadler will join the company from BMW Group where he has held the position of senior vice president, BMW Plant Dingolfing. Prior to this he has held a number of senior positions at BMW Group internationally, including being managing director, BMW South Africa.

Commenting on the new appointment, Dr Ralf Speth said: “We look forward to welcoming Wolfgang to Jaguar Land Rover. He brings a wealth of experience at this exciting time when jaguar land Rover is restructuring and going for sustainable and profitable growth simultaneously.”

Stadler will replace Paul Cope who retires at the end of the year after 37 years at JLR and Ford Motor Company.

Stadler, described this week by BMW as managing director of the BMW Plant Dingolfing, will leave the BMW Group with effect from 30 September 2013. BMW added that Stadler’s successor will be announced “at a later stage”.

In 2010, Stadler was interviewed by Auto Motor und Sport editor Harald Hamprecht, on the specifics of the launch of production of new BMW 5 series.

At that time, Stadler had been plant manager at BMW's Dingolfing plant for three years. He was responsible for the production launch of the variants of the new BMW 5 Series. 

“Of the 14 new models that we introduced this year in the nine automotive plants in the BMW Group's worldwide production, we are involved with three models,” said Stadler. “If all new body and engine variants of the current and future models together, we arrive at 35 models when production starts this year in Dingolfing. The most important new model is of course the BMW 5 Series Sedan and Touring, with its various engine options - and the benefits for the first time in full backbone of our strategy.

In his new appointment, Stadler will find himself under the limelight, even though he and Paul Cope will effectively overlap for three months.


It is quite clear Stadler has been poached by JLR as he still has three months’ of his service at BMW to serve, and BMW has still to announce a replacement.

His remit at JLR no doubt will be to introduce BMW’s quality standards throughout a company which is expanding its global manufacturing footprint. Stadler’s first challenge will be the launch of 2-litre four-cylinder gasoline (with its aluminium block) and diesel engine production at the new Hotfire engine plant at site i54 near Wolverhampton. These engines will form the bedrock of the company’s product line-up for many years to come.

Thereafter, other challenges will surface, more closely involved with an expansion of global manufacturing in regions far away from the UK.

Meanwhile, in the coming three months before he leaves BMW for the last time, Stadler will be able to reflect in quiet moments the differences in manufacturing strategy and culture between those of the high successful Germany-based BMW and the UK-based company, which has been owned successively over a number of years in part by Honda, BMW, Ford Motor Company and now Tata Motors. The next five years are likely to prove exciting for Stadler, to say the least. For JLR has none of the deeply ingrained and long-held German tradition for excellence and attention to detail of its rival.  

Perhaps we may even see a closer link forged between "design" and "manufacturing", for it is at the design stage that many manufacturing and quality decisions can be made.

It will be interesting also to see if Stadler hires a senior colleague from BMW to act as 'outrider' to help push through his ideas for change.   

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