The carmaker has taken a battering in the press following the decision to offload its ailing Rover subsidiary and its registrations slumped by more than 38% last month, to 3,438 units, compared to 5,596 units in April 1999, leaving BMW down 9.4% year-on-year.
A BMW spokesman said: “We have had some orders cancelled in the West Midlands, but it has not been a national phenomenon. We don't expect a major impact - it's largely been negative media coverage.” O'Donnell would “address any long term negative issues”, he added.
“Part of his function will be to develop as positive an image as possible for BMW.”
O'Donnell returns to the UK after three years as BMW South Africa sales and marketing director. He replaces Kevin Gaskell who left at the end of February to head the European launch of US internet car retailer CarsDirect.com.