Apple Adds Former Chrysler VP for Car Project - or Not

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

Doug Betts, former senior vice president at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in charge of quality, quietly began work at Apple this month, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

Betts, who led the effort to turnaround Chrysler’s quality rankings beginning in 2009, left the car company last year one day after Consumer Reports ranked the car company near the bottom of its quality survey.

Betts’ LinkedIn page confirms the appointment at Apple, but the famously secret computer company won’t say whether he’s working on an automotive-related project — or perhaps, janitorial duty.

Betts would be one of the first known hires for the Cupertino, California-based software company with specific knowledge of automotive manufacturing.

Apple has hired hundreds of people to secretly work on an automotive-related initiative called “ Project Titan,” which Tesla CEO Elon Musk acknowledged in a May sales call. It’s unclear if the software and computer maker is building an autonomous car to join the ranks of Google and others, or if Apple is merely developing car-related systems for future use.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple has hired Swiss autonomous car engineer, Paul Frugal, and former Ford engineer Steve Zadesky to lead the project.

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  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Jul 21, 2015

    Didn't he get fired? Oh that's right... "Fiat Chrysler’s quality chief has left the company, a day after the automaker ranked last in a closely watched U.S. scorecard on vehicle reliability." "Chrysler’s Dodge, Ram, Jeep and Fiat brands were the bottom-four finishers in an annual reliability study released Monday by Consumers Reports. The Chrysler brand fell four places to rank 22nd out of 28 brands listed." "Betts was one of few top managers at Chrysler to survive its 2009 bankruptcy. But his penchant for speaking his mind occasionally irked CEO Sergio Marchionne, said two company insiders. For example, his comments this year about Chrysler’s negotiations with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over 2 million older Jeep Grand Cherokees and Libertys about an alleged fire hazard raised eyebrows at the company." "Betts, who was hired away from Nissan by former Chrysler Group CEO Bob Nardelli, was singled out for praise in 2011 by Consumer Reports for his “single focus on bringing Chrysler back into the field” in terms of quality."

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    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jul 22, 2015

      @bball40dtw #accurateblanketstatement

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Jul 21, 2015

    It's hard to fault a guy for poor quality from a company run by Minimum Bob for a rapacious pump and dump "investor" on its way to bankruptcy. Quality is the result of design and production/assembly, and they have to work together to achieve it. Nardelli laid off the designers/engineers once design was complete, leaving production/assembly to work out the kinks. Others who know the P/A end can tell you how that turns out.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jul 22, 2015

    He really looks like the average Liberty customer.