Ex-Audi Franciscus van Meel is the new CEO of BMW M

News | September 23rd, 2014 by 21
Franciscus van Meel 01 750x500

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 …

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. Back in May, we reported that Franciscus van Meel, head of Audi’s quattro GmbH performance division, Franciscus van Meel, will be joining BMW. In January 2014, van Meel was relieved from his duties and replaced by longtime R&D executive Heinz Hollerweger and initially was believed that will take a senior executive position in China.

Francisus van Meel will already be joining the BMW Group on 1 October. 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.

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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.”

21 responses to “Ex-Audi Franciscus van Meel is the new CEO of BMW M”

  1. Billy The Hillbilly says:

    Oh well.. hope this guy will have better understanding for the BMW M brand legacy than Dr. Nitschke had. Unfortunately I don’t think so, as he’s heading there right from the Munich’s competitors. But I would be gladly surprised!

    • Horatiu B. says:

      I actually believe Dr. Nitschke was a great CEO and the next few cars are def his work. Same as the current M5/M6 weren’t really his creation.

      • Billy The Hillbilly says:

        Yep, I know the current M cars are not his creation, I have big respect for him and I believe he was much more suitable for the job than Mr. Segler, but…

        M performance was also his project (nothing wrong with that) and for a BMW extra parts it is kinda natural way to go, but I believe this is actually depreciating the value of the M. A bit. Yes, I guess you can make your way out of this by telling some logic arguments, but then… was it really necessary to put an M badge also to the diesel-powered car? Yes, I understand in this high-end corner it is always good to put in some more exclusivity to the buyer, but then again – won’t it affect the letter M, standing there for Motorsport? Whatever you do to your high performance division, you don’t add more exlusivity by selling a diesel. Yes, I know the M550d (an impressive technical achievement btw.) isn’t really the product of the Motorsport and isn’t a true M car, but the public does not. The public sometimes mistakes an 3er M Paket for an M3. Think what this will do.

        The new F80 M3 is his job and it seems to be a brilliant car overall, but there is one thing about it I don’t really like – its new electric power steering (but haven’t driven it yet). Blah. I know about the background story of this system and I know BMW is spending a great amount of effort and money to make it the best EPS system money can buy – and I don’t hesitate for a moment they succeeded, but – they really better make it on the same level of response as the hydraulic one… and they claim they did, but, you know – they told the same with runflats and everyone knows what’s the history with ’em. And M is not the place to play and fiddle with unproven technologies.

        Optional X-Drive for the new M5/M6 – yes, I am awared Benz is doing great success with their AWD E63, but, you know… so what? Don’t tell me this isn’t just selling out for bigger income? I know there’s a lot of pros and cons in this case, but is it all about what should it be in the first place – Motorsport? BMW was once a brand with a cool marketing strategy because they wouldn’t sell you a 520d with an M Paket. Nowadays it’s not a problem and many of peoples in the past have said that this was one of the main reasons why BMW isn’t the same brand anymore – yes, they definitely sell more, succeeded with a transition to the modern times they had to cope with and all, but – is it still the same BMW’s as from the late 90’s – just brilliant no matter what series or specification you go for? Don’t want to live up the day the M cars won’t be the top end of the “common” market just because they were not sticking up with the basic values of the brand, all to raise profits….

        Overall – I know a lot of it is not the decision of Dr. Nitschke and it might came as the direction to take, not to be discussed, so it’s really tough to tell “this was his fault”, but that’s one of the problems that comes with leading such an old, huge and successful brand. I also hope it all makes sense (kind of) and you will set my opinions straight if I’m mistaken at some part (as I think you know much more about the problem).

        • Horatiu B. says:

          Thanks for the great reply.

          I’m pretty sure we will have an xDrive M5 and M6. They’ve been hinting at that.

          I’m still not sure how successful M Performance family is. They haven’t communicated anything on it.

          • Billy The Hillbilly says:

            Yep,my answer is great, but the big question is: has it any relevance to what Dr. Nitschke could actually have his hands on? I seriously don’t know, just assuming.

            I think the M Performance will be a success, they seem to offer parts with the good value after all. Why the hell I couldn’t have a factory mounted LSD in their top models? That’s the way a lot of modders took, now it can be nice and shiny from the factory, so that’s fine and cars seems to be spot on as well. But I still would be cautious not to use the M letter way too much.

            Do you have any info if they pulled it out with the F80 M3 steering? I assume they probably managed to nail it since no one is really mentioning it in their reviews and it was all you can hear about at the time the new 911 (991) came about.

          • Horatiu B. says:

            It might have relevance, Nitschke was an engineer and he pushed his guys quite a bit to deliver the best results. The steering on the F80/F82 is actually really really good. Try it.

          • Billy The Hillbilly says:

            Ah, ok, thanks. Very glad to hear that.

          • Horatiu B. says:

            But it’s worth mentioning that in a driving mode like comfort is not as good as Sport or Sport+. It makes a difference.

  2. Freudeking says:

    A guy from Audi straight into a position like that at BMW??? What is BMW thinking? The last thing I want if for BMW M cars driving like Audi cars! I hope he will not taint BMW M with inferior Audi ideas.

  3. mav says:

    This is the beginning of the end…. Seriously BMW, this is a joke right?

  4. Andrewthecarguy says:

    Wow!
    Only time will tell I guess, but honestly, it might not be a bad idea.
    At the end of the day, it is all about profits, and stealing secrets from your competitors…

    • Billy The Hillbilly says:

      It might not. I suppose he has a lot of experience in making a pile of crap to steer better, BMW’s should be a piece of cake:-). Nah, joking aside, they really pulled the last RS4 off, the R8 is just spot on even though Lamborghini helped ’em quite a lot and the latest RS6 seems to be a true monster in terms of performance, ride & handling. I hope he will make the best of it.

  5. Zephyr141 says:

    Ehh.. I’m not too sure about this, I wonder what he will bring to the table for the BMW M division.

  6. […] boss of Audi RS and new head of BMW M, Franciscus van Meel, spoke to AutoExpress UK on the next generation M cars and all-wheel drive. While not officially […]

  7. […] magazine CAR sat down at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show with BMW M’s new CEO, Franciscus Van Meel, to talk about the future of the M brand. Topics like a M5 xDrive, M hybrid or M supercar have come […]

  8. […] magazine CAR sat down at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show with BMW M’s new CEO, Franciscus Van Meel, to talk about the future of the M brand. Topics like a M5 xDrive, M hybrid or M supercar have come […]

  9. […] If you want to keep up with the Joneses in this latest HP war, you need to be thinking mid-engined (with all of its packaging constraints) or all wheel drive (with all its weight and complexity). And that could be the reason that BMW M has picked up the former Audi Quattro managing director, Franciscus van Meel, to head BMW M. […]

  10. […] If you want to keep up with the Joneses in this latest HP war, you need to be thinking mid-engined (with all of its packaging constraints) or all wheel drive (with all its weight and complexity). And that could be the reason that BMW M has picked up the former Audi Quattro managing director, Franciscus van Meel, to head BMW M. […]

  11. […] Media Launch of the new 2015 BMW X6 M, Car and Driver sat down with BMW M’s new CEO, Franciscus van Meel. The usual topics came up: manual transmission on M cars, a future M supercar and front-wheel drive […]

  12. Michael Drewell says:

    I have been a proud owner of BMW’s since 1889 with most being “M” vehicles. I currently own the E93 M3 Cabriolet.

    I have never questioned the cost of servicing or repairs until now.

    On the day the spark plugs were replaced on my car, and after arriving home. A warning signal appeared that engine power was reduced and the DSM was inoperative and to bring the car to a dealer for repair immediately.

    I was then informed that the complete throttle body needed to be replaced due to a small electrical sensor at a cost for the part of $3,500 not including tax and labor.

    Being a mechanic myself I questioned further and was told this was a common problem with M3 vehicles and they had replaced the part on a number of cars.

    This car has only done 140,000km and I am appalled that such an expensive part should need replacing so soon. Especially as there is nothing wrong with the throttle body it is just a heat sensitive electrical component.

    As when it’s cold the problem doesn’t appear and the car drives just as it always has. It’s only when the car warms up that the problem starts and then often if you turn the car off and start it again the problem goes away.

    Given the BMW dealership has stated that this is a problem they have seen many times before I would hope that BMW will fix this issue as a warranty item. As this one dealership has performed the repair numerous times I would think it has been brought to the attention of the BMW group as a design problem which would have been remedied on the new model.

    I am holding off ordering my new M4 cabriolet until this issue is resolved.

    I would appreciate a reply that you have received this email.

    Thank you,

    Michael Drewell

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