Category: People

By on September 14, 2015

John Krafcik With A Hyundai Sonata, MotorWeek Host John Davis, And The 2012 MotorWeek Award For Awesomeness

Former Hyundai America CEO and TrueCar president John Krafcik has been hired by Google to head the California tech giant’s autonomous vehicle program.

Per Automotive News, Krafcik will begin his new work as the program’s director in late September, while current director and former Carnegie Mellon University robotics researcher Chris Urmson will remain aboard to lead technical development.

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By on September 8, 2015

Julien Montousse

Julien Montousse, the man who designed the interiors of the new Miata and Mazda6 for Mazda, and the last-generation Camaro for General Motors, will lead the automaker’s California design team, Mazda announced Tuesday.

Montousse takes over for Derek Jenkins, who left the company in July for a “stealth project” according to Automotive News, who cited Jenkins’ LinkedIn page.  Read More >

By on September 6, 2015

Sergio Marchionne - FCA

Speaking at the Formula One Italian Grand Prix this weekend, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne told Reuters that a merger with General Motors was at the top of his list.

“That discussion remains a high priority for FCA,” Marchionne told Reuters. “We consider it to be the best possible strategic alternative for us and for them. General Motors does remain the ideal partner for us and we represent a not easily replaceable alternative for them.”

(Emphasis mine. But what are the other “strategic alternatives?”)

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By on September 5, 2015


Reports out of Germany indicate that ousted chairman and current majority owner of Volkswagen’s parent group, Ferdinand Piech, may have tampered with the board nomination to replace him.

Piech may have prevented current VW CEO Martin Winterkorn from becoming chairman after the two’s public feud ultimately resulted with Piech’s abrupt resignation in April, Reuters reported.

If true, the backroom dealings would indicate that while Piech may not be overseeing VW anymore, he still wields significant influence on its operations and leadership.

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By on September 3, 2015

Volkswagen Wolfsburg

Porsche Automobil Holding SE announced Thursday that it would propose its CFO Hans Dieter Poetsch to succeed Berthold Huber as chairman of Volkswagen’s supervisory board. The proposal was supported by Volkswagen AG.

Huber was appointed interim chairman for the German automotive giant after Ferdinand Piech was ousted in a dustup among leadership.

The announcement comes only a few days after Volkswagen said it extended its contract with its current CEO, Martin Winterkorn, for two more years and effectively ending his bid to replace Piech. Winterkorn and Piech publicly feuded over VW’s direction, eventually leading to Piech’s surprise resignation as chairman in April.

As a member of the board of majority shareholder in VW’s parent company, Porsche SE, Piech voted alongside the rest of the board unanimously to approve Poetsch as proposed chairman.

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By on September 2, 2015


Hyundai’s U.S. sales chief Bob Pradzinski left abruptly Tuesday and was promptly replaced by Nissan’s U.S. sales chief — and former Hyundai exec — Derrick Hatami, Automotive News is reporting.

Separately, Nissan announced that Chief Marketing Officer Dan Mohnke would assume lead sales responsibilities after Hatami’s departure.

Pradzinski’s sudden departure may have triggered the moves, but it’s not unusual for Hyundai, according to the report. Pradzinski assumed his No. 2 role after former CEO John Krafcik abruptly left Hyundai and became president of TrueCar.

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By on September 2, 2015

Martin Winterkorn in Shanghai - Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

Volkswagen will extend its contract with CEO Martin Winterkorn through 2018, Automotive News is reporting, but that two-year deal may make him too old to succeed the man he ousted, Ferdinand Piech, who left the company last year after clashing with Winterkorn. Read More >

By on August 25, 2015

98_3_70 Atlas Obscura has a fine, fine retelling of former President Dwight Eisenhower’s treacherous slog across the U.S. in 1919, presumably before Google Maps could tell him where to go.

His 62-day, transcontinental epoch may have served as inspiration for the creation of America’s interstate highway system — not the threat of a nuclear attack and evacuation of America’s major cities, apparently — later on during his presidency.

Among the highlights: 6 mph traveling speed, biblical salts in Utah and misery in Nebraska. Pack a lunch for the long read, because it’s entertaining.

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By on August 25, 2015

Ed Carpenter apexes Turn 3 during the 2015 ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway

Former and current drivers have called on IndyCar officials to review safety equipment in place after racer Justin Wilson died Monday from injuries suffered Sunday at Pocono Raceway, Reuters is reporting.

Wilson was struck in the head by debris from a car that crashed ahead of him, driven by Sage Karam. The incident was similar to accidents in other race series with open cockpits; Felipe Massa was hit by debris in Hungary in 2009 and required surgery, James Hinchcliffe was struck in the head in 2014, which caused a concussion. Wilson’s death was the first for IndyCar since Dan Wheldon was killed in 2011.

“Safety is not one of those things that because you have a clear record for a certain amount of time that you stop doing development,” former race driver Eddie Cheever told ESPN.

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By on August 24, 2015


Justin Wilson died Monday from injuries sustained Sunday, when a piece of another crashed race car struck him. He was 37.

His family released a short statement thanking well-wishers and fans for their support after the crash. Wilson was a native of Sheffield, England and lived in Longmont, Colorado with his wife and two daughters.

“Justin was a loving father and devoted husband, as well as a highly competitive racing driver who was respected by his peers.”

Wilson was an advocate for track safety, not only for the racers but also for the spectators.

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  • Jack Baruth, United States
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