Beautiful BMW i8 hybrid, four-seat, sportscar will be built in Leipzig from April

Beautiful BMW i8 hybrid, four-seat, sportscar will be built in Leipzig from April

A busy week for the just-auto.com editorial team this week as we fanned out across Europe - and beyond - to cover a series of interesting industry events.

I headed for two favourite German cities - Munich and Leipzig - initially to attend BMW's annual general meeting at BMW Welt. Chairman Norbert Reithofer, understandably, was very happy at being able to forecast 2m sales for 2014 two years ahead of target.

The previous evening, we had been shown around a fantastic new display of classic models in the adjacent museum - learned of the background to the design of the latest Minis - and had the chance to catch up with key executives such as Ian Robertson, the Briton who heads up sales and marketing. He clearly loves his job, company and its products and brought us up to speed on the engine and platform sharing agreement with Toyota and provided an interesting insight into a rejig of US vehicle distribution arrangements that improves efficieny while retaining the ability to meet that market's 'delivery today' mindset.

Then it was time to fly to Leipzig for a welcome return visit to the state-of-the-art assembly plant there that is now building the new i3 electric city car - and from next month, the delectable i8 hybrid sportscar - in a new 'factory within a factory', and learn of BMW's new plan to speed up away-from-home recharging.

The tour of the build process for the new i3 was one of the most fascinating I've enjoyed in some 40(!) years of assembly plant visits (I did start while still in high school) and I'll bring you details next week. What a pity my cameraphone was banned...

Courtesy of our associates at headlineauto, we were also in Munich with Audi for an insight into new technology headed for the redesigned TT model line due out later this year.

Meanwhile, Glenn Brooks (lucky so and so) headed for Barcelona for Jaguar's F-Type coupe launch, learning that JLR expects an astonishing 90% conquest rate for this new variant of its successful sportscar. That'll be worth checking back in on in a year or so.

As usual, the week's Award for Furthest Travel went to Simon Warburton who headed off to Moscow for his second Russian Automotive Forum and brought us interesting reports about new AvtoVAZ chief Bo Andersson, who moved over from Gaz Group a few months ago, wondered if Russia could become a 4m unit market, and learned that Russia's largest city could become a happy hunting ground for purveyors of low emissions vehicles. There was also an interesting insight into possible increased use of LNG for commercial vehicles.

Have a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor, just-auto.com

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