By on July 21, 2015

 

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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20 Comments on “Apple Adds Former Chrysler VP for Car Project – or Not...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    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.”

    http://www.autonews.com/article/20141028/OEM02/141029851/betts-leaves-chrysler-after-another-poor-quality-showing

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      It’s interesting that someone in charge of quality would be standing in front of a Jeep Commander. It’s like the SEC’s head of compliance standing in front of Bear Sterns.

      • 0 avatar
        Wayne

        And with a smirk..the audacity!
        LOL.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’ve read opinions over the years that Bear was deliberately targeted by the other TBTF banks and said bailout would not occur until Bear was finished. I don’t work in finance so I can’t quite understand the reasoning for these opinions, although the play by play is certainly interesting:

        “On March 14, 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York agreed to provide a $25 billion loan to Bear Stearns collateralized by free and clear assets from Bear Stearns in order to provide Bear Stearns the liquidity for up to 28 days that the market was refusing to provide. Apparently the Federal Reserve Bank of New York had a *change of heart* and told Bear Stearns that the 28 day loan was unavailable to them.[21] The deal was then changed to where the NY FED would create a company to buy $30 billion worth of Bear Stearns assets. Two days later, on March 16, 2008, Bear Stearns signed a merger agreement with *JP Morgan Chase* in a stock swap worth *$2 a share or less than 7 percent of Bear Stearns’ market value just two days before*.[22] This sale price represented a staggering loss as its stock had traded at $172 a share as late as January 2007, and $93 a share as late as February 2008. *The new company is funded by loans of $29 billion from the New York FRB, and $1 billion from JP Morgan Chase (the junior loan), with no further recourse to JP Morgan Chase*.[23] This non-recourse loan means that the loan is collateralized by mortgage debt[24] and that the *government cannot seize* JP Morgan Chase’s assets if the mortgage debt collateral becomes insufficient to repay the loan.[24][25] Chairman of the Fed, Ben Bernanke, defended the bailout by stating that a Bear Stearns’ bankruptcy would have affected the real economy[26] and could have caused a “chaotic unwinding” of investments across the US markets”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bear_Stearns

        So who was running the show at FRBNY when this occured? Why it was Timmmmay:

        “In October 2003, at age 42,[24] he was named president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.[25] His salary in 2007 was $398,200.”

        Then he is credited with:

        “In March 2008, he arranged the rescue and sale of Bear Stearns.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Geithner

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I worked at the Great Blue Satan (JPMorgan Chase) at the time, and that Bear Stearns deal was a peach of a deal for Jamie Dimon. Like you said, the reserve bank put up $29 billion and JPMorgan only had to put up $1 billion. JPMorgan also got the Bear Stearns Tower at 338 Madison that was worth about $1.4 billion at the time.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            I seem to remember when Bear Stearns was taken over, it was remarked by JPM staff that the company was a well-run, efficient operation. B-S must have cost somebody a huge amount of money.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            In addition to the incredibly sweet deal to JPM, the entire thing was only possible because FRBNY reneged on its earlier $25B loan deal to BS.

            Timmay…

        • 0 avatar
          Wayne

          It doesn’t surprise me as the core financial folks Bush brought into the White house to engineer the bailout were mostly former Goldman Sachs.

          Chalk it up as an ego play or grown men behaving badly.

          • 0 avatar
            Ihatejalops

            Yeah, cause the financial sector isn’t in bed with the Obama admin either. Please, they’re even worse heading to Goldman Sachs et al.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Not that it makes a difference, but that’s a Liberty.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          IT IS! I wasn’t 100% sure. I googled the Commander and it looked close enough. I knew it wasn’t the Compatriot, JGC, or Cherokee. I’m sorry Jeep Liberty, you were better than the Commander.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            I once drove a fully loaded Hemi Commander for a day, it was alright. Unfortunately I also drove a 3.7L version. *shudders*

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Oh God…PowerTech 3.7…just give me the LA engine back.

            I had an employee with a BHPH purchased Commander 3.7L. It was so raggedy looking. It had the most brake dust that I have ever seen on a set of wheels.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        That’s a Liberty, not a Commander!

        (Saw the correction after, booo.)

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    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.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    He really looks like the average Liberty customer.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Also, the back drop looks like it was used for 1990s middle school picture day. Who did Chrysler have taking their corporate photos, Olan Mills?

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I always picked the “teal” background for school pics. It matched with my silk shirt!

        I used this one too: http://viviennekneale.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/laserbeams.jpg

        Even their company building is retro/dated in a bad way.
        http://media-cdn.timesfreepress.com/img/photos/2012/01/30/013112_WEB_a_Olan_t800_h65ecabbe613f4dc4a4ffed942591cb3a65324e02.jpg

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