Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

BMW keeping wary eye on rivals


After a year of unprecedented turmoil in the auto industry, BMW’s U.S. head smells blood in the water.

Changes in ownership at some of its historic European rivals may present the German luxury automaker with a chance to grab market share. 

But even as Jim O’Donnell saw weaknesses to exploit, he raised the worry that one of Detroit’s most storied car brands, Cadillac, could take out of the market of the company that calls its vehicles “the ultimate driving machine.” 

As Cadillac’s parent company, General Motors Corp, went through a bankruptcy that forced it to cut thousands of jobs and shed brands, BMW picked up Cadillac customers and dealers. But a slimmed down GM could present a renewed threat, said the president of BMW’s North American unit.