Category: People

By on December 17, 2015

Volkswagen Wolfsburg

Five new chiefs for research, sales and production will lead Volkswagen, the automaker announced Thursday, including a new engineering chief to replace Ulrich Hackenberg, the longtime boss at the center of the diesel cheating scandal.

The automaker also announced a smaller, more linear organization for its chiefs. Volkswagen cut in half the number of managers who report directly to new CEO Matthias Müller, according to the automaker, which could help end the cutthroat corporate culture that contributed to the pressure to appease former CEO Martin Winterkorn.

“These structural changes speed up the decision-making process, reduce complexity and increase efficiency,” Müller said in a statement.

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By on December 14, 2015

Nissan IDS Concept

Here’s some of the news you may have missed if you were out fighting the holiday crowds and spreading some of that Yuletide cheer by burning the hell out of some cookies you were planning on giving the neighbors. Read More >

By on December 10, 2015

Matthias Müller

Volkswagen announced Thursday that the automaker’s investigation had identified institutional breakdowns and individual misconduct that led to the installation of more than 11 million “defeat devices” aimed at cheating emissions tests in its diesel cars.

Volkswagen Chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch told journalists and investors that some parts of the company “tolerated breaches of rules” while it developed the illegal devices, according to Automotive News.

Thursday’s announcement was an interim report on the internal investigation by Volkswagen that has already resulted in nine suspended employees, including a high-ranking engineer who was with the automaker for 30 years. Pötsch said the external investigation, which will be conducted by U.S. firm Jones Day, will continue well into 2016.

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By on December 9, 2015

Fred Diaz with Cummins Diesel For Nissan Titan

Nissan announced Tuesday that it would move current U.S. chief Fred Diaz to focus on truck sales for North America and promote Nissan’s chief in Canada, Christian Meunier, to lead the group in North America.

“We are now poised to capitalize on the significant investments we have made in our trucks with the launch of the all-new Nissan Titan, and these changes will support our ability to do so,” Nissan North America chairman Jose Munoz said in a statement announcing the changes.

In his new role, Diaz will oversee truck sales — Titan and Frontier — for all of North America to help jumpstart that brand from a minor player to a more serious contender. He was previously head of Ram brand for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles before joining Nissan in 2013.

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By on December 4, 2015

Little Donkey in a Big Ford P71

If you ever wondered whether you could transport a donkey in the back of a Ford Crown Victoria, the Norman Police Department have your answer.

Norman, Oklahoma police Officer Kyle Canaan happened upon a miniature donkey wandering around the 8100 block of of 120th Avenue NE on the morning of December 1, following up on a report from a woman who called in the sighting, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says.

Wanting to keep the donkey from being hit by traffic, Canaan used feed to lure the animal off the road, then pushed and pulled the little donkey into the back seat of his P71. As the photo from Norman PD can tell you, animals of the donkey’s size can fit comfortably in the back. Read More >

By on December 4, 2015

Ulrich HackenbergUlrich Hackenberg, who was Audi’s chief engineer and among the first to be rumored to catch heat for Volkswagen’s diesel scandal, resigned Thursday according to the automaker.

Audi’s new chairman of its supervisory board, Matthias Müller, said Hackenberg was responsible for implementing designs such as the automaker’s current MQB global architecture and cars such as the A3, A4, A6, A8 and TT.

“Above all, the modular toolkit system is inseparably connected with the name of Ulrich Hackenberg. He had that idea already in the early nineties at Audi. Today, the entire Group profits from it,” Müller said in a statement.

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By on December 3, 2015

Sergio Marchionne at the Italian Embassy in DC Circa February 2012

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles won’t attempt to takeover General Motors anytime soon, FCA chief Sergio Marchionne told investors Thursday according to Reuters.

Speaking following a shareholder meeting, Marchionne said that finding a partner for FCA wasn’t “life or death” for the automaker group. Reportedly, FCA will delay launching several of their cars — including the Alfa Romeo Giulia for six months — as the automaker shores up its $52 billion investment plan.

“We are not choking. We are in relatively decent shape,” Marchionne said.

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By on December 2, 2015

Anthony Foxx + Barack Obama et al

Auto executives from nearly every major U.S. automaker met in Washington D.C. on Tuesday to discuss safety, recalls and technology with Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Automotive News reported.

Senior executives from 15 automakers, including General Motors’ CEO Mary Barra, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn and Nissan North America boss Jose Munoz, met to address Foxx’s concerns that “the public has lost faith in the auto industry’s commitment to safety,” according to a letter obtained by Automotive News.

The recent snowballing recall crises at GM, FCA and other automakers concerning Takata’s airbag inflators prompted the meeting, according to reports. A spokesman for the Transportation Department said the meeting was “very productive.”

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By on December 1, 2015

Volkswagen Wolfsburg

Deciding that the company’s annual pre-Christmas party wasn’t a great time to be Wetblanket Wildes, the Porsche-Piech clan affirmed that it would be committed to Volkswagen amid its emissions crises (pl.) and said the company that the family-owned company would “master the situation,” according to Reuters.

The Porsche-Piech family, who owns a majority stake in Volkswagen’s parent company, told the automaker’s board and the town of Wolfsburg that the family has no intention of pulling the plug.

“I am firmly convinced that the city of Wolfsburg together with Volkswagen will master the situation and gain further strength,” Wolfgang Porsche said in a statement, according to Reuters. “The Porsche and Piech families stand behind Volkswagen and Wolfsburg as its headquarters.”

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By on November 30, 2015

2017 Cadillac XT5 luxury crossover

With the CT6 and XT5 hitting the floor soon, Cadillac is working on a new dealer incentive program to encourage improvement of the buying experience at its stores.

Automotive News reports the program could bring as much as $850 million to $1 billion USD “in incremental profit” for the brand’s dealership network over the next four to five years, according to president Johan de Nysschen:

If we want to have a strong brand, we need to have a strong franchise. To do that, it means the dealers are profitable and that they’re able to invest in the business and to build the customer experience.

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