Aston Martin Sees CEO Swap

Aston Martin Lagonda will be seeing new leadership. Tobias Moers will be surrendering his role as chief executive to make way for former Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa.

While the formal announcement was made on Wednesday, rumors about Moers getting the boot had been circulating ever since Aston Martin Racing head Otmar Szafnauer left the company in January after repeatedly butting heads with executive chairman Lawrence Stroll. Szafnauer was said to have resigned, however, reports suggested that the Canadian financier was displeased with his performance. At the time, there were claims that Moers’ head was next on the chopping block.

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Changing Lanes: Key Execs Move to New Roles at Hyundai Group

There’s a very strong case to be made that the cars we drive are influenced, at least in part, by suits in automaker C-suites. Witness the ongoing transformation at Toyota, which has finally shifted back to making cars with a pulse, machines crafted at the behest of noted gearhead Akio Toyoda. Sure, there are hundreds or thousands of people working on any particular project at a given time, but the Big Cheese often influences decision making – intentionally or not.

This is why we sat up and took notice when Hyundai shuffled a brace of people largely responsible for the styling and driving feel of vehicles in that automaker’s showrooms.

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Honda CEO Stepping Down, R&D Head Stepping Up

Honda has announced that CEO Takahiro Hachigo will be succeeded by the automaker’s head of research and development, Toshihiro Mibe. The company’s board held a meeting on Friday to finalize the decision, noting in a release that Mibe would officially be taking over leadership responsibilities on April 1st. A resolution of the general shareholder meeting is scheduled for June 2021, at which point Hachigo is assumed to be retiring from the business.

Mibe joined Honda’s engineering team in 1987 and had worked his way up to head of R&D in 2019. Since 2020, he’s also been working as the brand’s senior managing director. He’s to be tasked with taking the manufacturer into “the next era” — which we’re guessing entails strengthening its commitment to electric vehicles. Though the manufacturer also stated that “a new value system is spreading all around the world” adding that this change in management would help reflect that as it strives to solve social issues.

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Nissan's Management Problem

On Tuesday, a subset of Nissan’s board intends to request access to a list of 80 Nissan employees suspected of aiding former Chairman Carlos Ghosn in his alleged financial malfeasance. Assembled by Nissan’s former audit chief, Christina Murray, and company, the document compiles actions taken by staffers believed to have assisted Ghosn directly or attempted to impede the resulting investigations.

Among them is Hari Nada, Nissan’s vice president, who oversees the company’s legal department. Despite being instrumental in Ghosn’s November arrest by acting as a whistleblower to Japanese authorities, along with Toshiaki Onuma, his role as one of the ousted executive’s many confidants has placed him under suspicion — as did his reluctance to recuse himself from the company’s legal affairs.

Nada is now being pressured to resign. However, it’s not clear if this is the result of any actual wrongdoing or an internal power struggle happening inside the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. Considering the power vacuum created by Ghosn’s arrest and the swift retirement of ex-CEO Hiroto Saikawa (who also makes the 80-person list), both scenarios seem equally plausible.

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A Post-Marchionne FCA Gets Ready to Name a Dream Team

After the sudden illness of industry titan Sergio Marchionne in late July, Fiat Chrysler enacted some quick changes in order to name a new CEO. Mike Manley, who had helmed powerhouse FCA brands, was installed into the role on July 21st, just four days before Mr. Marchionne’s passing.

Reuters reported this morning that Manley will announce his new team during an event towards the end of this month. Until now, little else has been said about the remainder of FCA’s management roster. In a post-Sergio world, who will head up each of the company’s brands?

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Mitsubishi Motors Is Gearing Up to Finally Get Its Act Together

Poor Mitsubishi. Its strange history has ushered in memorable models, an important alliance with Chrysler, success on the World Rally stage, a partnership with Jackie Chan, an epic fuel economy scandal, and building debt that eventually turned it into the sad creature we know today. But there is nothing to say it has to stay mired in that ugly situation. It’s getting ready to crawl out of the dumpster and will be getting plenty of help along the way.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance, which now includes Mitsubishi Motors, announced a reformatting of its executive lineup on Thursday — adding new areas, such as quality and car servicing, where all three companies will work in tandem. Bent on efficiency savings, the Alliance said it will seek to extend its convergence in the areas of purchasing, engineering, manufacturing and supply chains next month (when Mitsubishi also gets its new CEO for North America). The ultimate goal here is to maximize profits that can then used for advanced research and development.

Where does this leave Mitsubishi? In a much better position than it once was. Despite initial concerns that Renault and Nissan would attempt to relegate the brand to Asia, where it’s strongest, the Alliance opted to improve the company’s U.S. dealership network and grow sales by 30 percent to 130,000 units per year.

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QOTD: What's the Best Car Movie (or Auto Industry Flick) You've Ever Seen?

Today’s an easy one: what, in your opinion, is the best car movie ever made?

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Report to the Bridge: Audi AG Sees an Upper Ranks Shakeup

Audi announced a rather high-level reorganization of management on Monday as it continues grappling with life after Volkswagen Group’s diesel-emissions scandal.

The automaker is still on the receiving end of numerous criminal investigations and vehicle recalls, as well as criticism from unions. But four of its board members aren’t coming along for the ride. Audi AG is replacing CFO Axel Strotbek, production chief Hubert Waltl, human resources head Thomas Sigi and sales chief Dietmar Voggenreiter, effective at the end of this month.

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Nissan Puts More Executives on Bus to Mitsubishi

Nissan is remaking Mitsubishi Motors in its own image, restructuring it into a more multinational organization with a less traditional Japanese hierarchy. The automotive arm of the tri-diamond keiretsu has already undergone early changes to revamp production and take advantage of its new role within the Franco-Japanese alliance after selling a controlling stake to Nissan in October for $2.29 billion.

Now Nissan is further shuffling the deck in Mitsubishi’s boardroom to better represent a company within the Renault-Nissan partnership. The management changes place more foreigners and a woman in top executive roles, ending the company’s long-standing practice of promoting employees based exclusively on seniority.

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Volkswagen's Annual Shareholders Meeting Was a Real Cage Match

Let’s hope the cutlery was plastic and the sandwiches didn’t come with toothpicks.

Amid an investigation into the emissions scandal that recently ensnared the company’s ex-CEO and current brand chief, Volkswagen shareholders big and small gathered today to calmly discuss the company’s actions and finances.

By all accounts, the calm didn’t last.

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At Volkswagen, Labor Knives Come Out for Herbert Diess

Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess has a target on his back, now that the union representing the automaker’s workers has made its distrust of the company public.

Labor union IG Metall slammed the company’s management in a letter published on its website, stating the company was using the diesel emissions scandal as a way of cutting staff, according to Bloomberg.

The union said it wants assurances from Volkswagen brass that layoffs aren’t coming down the pipe, and implied that Diess’ job is in danger if he doesn’t agree to protect employee positions.

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Honda Has Alarmingly Few Female Managers in Japan, and They Know It

Last month, Honda released its annual Sustainability Report outlining the company’s position and direction under its new CEO Takahiro Hachigo.

Outlined on Page 73 of its 104-page report, Honda admits its number of female managers in Japan is quite low.

Well, actually 0.5-percent low.

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Hammer Time: Are Shareholders Worth It?

Capitalism has no loyalties.

Everybody is replaceable.

Products. Employees. Employers. Services. Alliances. Joint Ventures. Financiers. Even the executives of multinational firms along with their board of directors are only as good as whatever quarterly numbers can be cooked up by their ‘independent’ auditing firm.

Capitalism is the ultimate “Let’s go!”, “Do it!” and “Screw you!” of economic systems. You name the angle or need in capitalism, and chances are that there is a market substitute that can immediately fill the gap. Even government regulations can be routinely challenged by trade organizations, international courts, and the all too common political handshake.

All this reality happens… on paper.

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Toyota Shakes Up Its Leadership

When Toyota gets on the horn by lunchtime to tell Tokyo’s media to show up at 4:30 the same day, everybody knows it will be a big surprise and an even bigger deal. Today, Japan’s Fourth Estate already knew what’s coming when the phone rang. It still was a big deal: Toyota completely reshuffled its top executives. It even brought a non-Japanese on board, a former GM man to boot.

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Dr. Z Nearly Lost His Job

“Dieter Zetsche is lucky that he can stay for three more years,” writes Der Spiegel in Germany. The labor side of Daimler’s Supervisory Board had demanded Dr. Z’s head, the magazine writes. After long debates with Daimler’s Supervisory Board Chairman Manfred Bischoff, a compromise was found.

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  • Carlson Fan The way the truck drops in the rear and the bed/tailgate become a ramp is genius! I'd buy it just for that alone!!! It would be awesome for loading snowmobiles and garden tractors in the back. However, my trucks need to be able to regularly tow heavy loads long distance, summer & winter. Sorry folks, current battery tech. isn't even close to what it needs to be for me to think even one second that a battery truck could replace my current ICE powered truck. An EV for a DD makes sense , but for truck you need a MUCH better battery.
  • Inside Looking Out For midsize sedan it is too small. It basically is a compact car.
  • Stodge I test drove the 200S and damn, its suspension was so firm, I was convinced it didn't actually include suspension at all. It hurt my spine and hip, it was that firm.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird If Mopar had only offered sport hatch versions of the 200 and or Dart they might have sold more of them for folks who wanted some more versatility without having to go for a small utility Compass Patriot or new at the time Renegade or Cherokee.
  • El scotto I started driving in the late 70's. The cars high school kids could afford and wanted were very very worn out muscle cars. Oh Lordy those V-8's bring back some happy memories. Oh there some outliers in my crowd, a VW Bug and a Dodge Scamp with slant six; neither car would die. In 10 years their will be young people wanting very used Teslas or Dodge's with hemis. B&B, I say that if someone is excited about their EV, Hybrid, or Hemi welcome them to the club of people who like cars.