By on September 6, 2019

General Motors Renaissance Center

General Motors is moving Cadillac marketing chief Deborah Wahl up the food chain by appointing her as its global chief marketing officer — a position which has sat unfilled since 2012.

The previous CMO, Joel Ewanick, was removed by former CEO Dan Akerson over a costly Chevrolet-Manchester United sponsorship deal blew up in his face. Officially, General Motors said Ewanick “failed to meet the expectations the company has of an employee” and left the position vacant, distributing its duties among other other employees — primarily Chevrolet’s now-retired CMO Tim Mahoney.

Wahl, 56, joined Cadillac in 2018, helping the brand further distance itself from the botched “Dare Greatly” advertising campaign. However, we’re not yet certain its freshened marketing materials are truly a cut from a different cloth. Several of the new spots carry over the same vague messaging, just with a bit more focus on product. Then again, perhaps the highbrow content is simply going over our heads.  (Read More…)

By on July 18, 2019

With Harald Krüger out, BMW needs a new CEO — one that can effectively transition the company into becoming and electrified automotive dreamscape. Krüger presumably wasn’t interested in taking that path. While that hardly makes him a monster, plenty of people felt that his reluctance to spend ludicrous amounts of money on developing EVs was tanking the company’s share price and making him look like a fool. Not us, though. Bending to investors every whim and chasing down trends with minimal foresight seems like top-tier dipshittery. But that’s the nature of the industry right now, for better or worse.

However, in the short term, it pays to promote electrification and Krüger’s measured strategy of gradually introducing more EVs via a flexible architecture was often seen as too conservative. Perhaps that’s the correct assertion and some new blood is in order at BMW if it’s to correct its course. But who do you pick?  (Read More…)

By on September 28, 2018

Image: Audi

Volkswagen Group’s supervisory board has postponed a decision on the future of Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, who has been in jail since June due to his presumed connection with the automaker’s diesel malfeasance. Despite having scheduled a Monday meeting to assess Stadler’s role within the company and how best to end it, the board found itself unable to come to a conclusion by Friday.

That does not mean the imprisoned CEO will be getting a pardon from the company, however. Stadler’s representatives and VW simply failed to negotiate a solution that would see Stadler step down from his role as Audi CEO and as a VW Group management board member, sources close to the situation told Automotive News Europe(Read More…)

By on September 14, 2018

Image: Audi AG

Volkswagen’s supervisory board will meet on Monday to map out the future of Rupert Stadler, the suspended chief executive of its Audi brand. German outlet Der Spiegel reported on Friday that VW intends to decide whether or not Stadler, who has been in police custody since mid-June as part of a broader probe into the company’s diesel cheating fiasco, should resign his post.

Officially, the automaker’s position on the matter is that the CEO is innocent until convicted of criminal wrongdoing. But having him in the crosshairs of the media and investigators isn’t great PR for the company.  (Read More…)

By on August 29, 2018

Ford formed a team this week, called it the “Enterprise Product Line Management (EPLM) group,” and put it to work with the company’s marketing, engineering, mobility, and product development arms to overhaul the company’s product lineup. The goal is to study what customers want and use that information to build more profitable, competitive vehicles.

The team is split into ten smaller divisions that will focus their efforts on a specific model or product group — including everything from electric models to rugged off-roaders. However, EPLM won’t simply be responsible for their development — it’s also in charge of making sure customers are engaged with everything Ford offers, and that the products are brought to market swiftly, sell well, and remain profitable to manufacture. That’s a pretty full plate, if you ask us.  (Read More…)

By on August 22, 2018

VW logo, Image: Volkswagen

Volkswagen Group intends to fire a group of employees implicated in the diesel emissions fraud scandal. German prosecutors in Brunswick have identified an inner circle of 39 “suspicious engineers” it believes contributed directly to the emissions cheating. It’s expected that VW will carry out these terminations as quickly as possible, with additional waves of firings to follow.

According to Handelsblatt, Volkswagen made the decision to cleanse its ranks after being granted access to the prosecution’s investigation files in July. The automaker followed up with a series of employee “interviews” and a month-long review process. VW has already announced the dismissal of six high-ranking employees, with former development head Heinz-Jakob Neußer (Neusser) being the most noteworthy.  (Read More…)

By on March 15, 2018

There’s something about EV manufacturers that elevates the turnover rate of high-ranking employees. It seemed like we reported on Faraday Future losing executives almost daily for two consecutive years, but Tesla now appears to have its own difficulty retaining talent. The automaker lost two of its senior financial executives this month as it prepares to report on the Model 3 sedan’s progress (or lack thereof).

Is this the beginning of the end for the EV manufacturer? Probably not. It’s easy to obsess about Tesla’s status and speculate endlessly on the health of the brand, but the company’s all-important stock price has yet to crash and Elon Musk has promised to remain at its helm for the foreseeable future. However, the firm may need to do some housekeeping to ensure it doesn’t lose the trust of its investors.  (Read More…)

By on March 1, 2018

mitsubishi outlander

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. (Read More…)

By on December 21, 2017

nissan emblem badge logo

Nissan Motor Company is moving senior vice president and chairman of Renault Eurasia, Denis Le Vot, westward to succeed Jose Munoz as president and chairman of Nissan North America. While Munoz will persist as the brand’s global chief performance officer, Le Vot will take over his regional duties.

A french native, Le Vot joined Renault in 1990 and soon moved up the ranks — eventually being appointed to the brand’s management committee in 2015 and AvtoVAZ’s board of directors the following year. The Nissan executive board in Yokohama, Japan, approved his new appointment in a meeting on Tuesday. However, the title doesn’t become official until January 16th.  (Read More…)

By on December 15, 2017

General Motors HQ

General Motors has decided to cut ties with Alphons Iacobelli, the former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles labor relations chief accused of embezzling funds earmarked for worker training. That money is believed to have gone into extensive home renovations, the installation of a pool, personal credit card expenses, the leasing of a private jet, a $350,000 Ferrari 458 Spider, and two Mont Blanc pens worth $37,500 each.

While GM suspended Iacobelli in July (after federal officials charged him for his alleged role in a multi-million dollar criminal conspiracy during his time at FCA), it only recently confirmed his departure from the company.  (Read More…)

By on December 8, 2017

2017 Ford GT Multimatic assembly line - Image: Ford

Ford’s former head of performance car manufacturing, Dave Pericak, is now the engineering director for the automaker’s North American unibody vehicles. While in charge of Ford Performance, the division launched the Raptor, Focus RS, Shelby GT350, and GT. Prior to taking the helm in 2014, he was also the chief engineer of the 50th anniversary Mustang.

Now responsible for mainstream models from both Ford and Lincoln, Pericak’s previous duties will be split between Mark Rushbrook and Hermann Salenbauch. Rushbrook will handle the company’s racing efforts as Salenbauch runs Ford’s production vehicle development. (Read More…)

By on October 17, 2017

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Nissan has a new senior vice president in charge of U.S. sales and marketing. Dan Mohnke, the company’s former vice president of strategy and digital acceleration, was promoted to the role previously held by Christian Meunier.

Heading to Infiniti, Meunier will serve as the brand’s vice president for global marketing and sales operations. The position was created exclusively to help the brand’s expansion into new markets. Meunier will report directly to Roland Krueger, president of Infiniti Motor Company and senior vice president of Nissan’s global division. Meanwhile, Mohnke will report to José Muñoz, chief performance officer for Nissan Motor Co.  (Read More…)

By on August 28, 2017

Uber At Igby's In Cincy Circa April 2014

Uber Technologies has chosen Expedia’s Dara Khosrowshahi to run the global ride-hailing firm now that ex-CEO Travis Kalanick has been twice ousted from his executive role. While Uber confirmed it has named a replacement, it declined to make specific reference to Khosrowshahi, saying the board would inform employees first. Likewise, Expedia has not yet confirmed that its current CEO is leaving.

Hoping to distance itself from numerous scandals, Uber has vowed to end what many have called an unsavory corporate culture. As the company’s co-founder, Kalanick enjoyed sweeping authority on the board and has been frequently blamed for its misdeeds — primarily due to his encouraging of an unstructured, dog-eat-dog mentality among the staff. This may have something to do with the surprise choice of Khosrowshahi. As a former Iranian refugee, he is extremely critical of the Trump administration’s travel ban and has received praise in the media for his progressive politics.  (Read More…)

By on July 9, 2017

Toyota Camry Assembly Factory Georgetown

Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America, is going to great lengths to tell the world his company is only going to get better in the years to come — proving to his employer that he knows exactly what his job entails. In addition to explaining how the brand’s new modular architecture will give assembly lines much-needed flexibility, this week also had him announcing Toyota won’t dawdle anymore on getting product into consumer hands.

“I think we’re going to be quicker to market,” Lentz announced to the press at Toyota’s brand new $1 billion Texas headquarters on Thursday. “Before if you were part of the sales organization, you had your own legal team [and] HR team, so there was a lot of redundancy across the organization … we were able to streamline that and, with a lot of the headcount changes, we were able to hire more engineers to our operation in Ann Arbor, as we continue to develop vehicles here in North America, for North America.”   (Read More…)

By on July 2, 2017

McLaren Ron Dennis 1990 Phoenix Grand Prix

British automotive magnate and principal of McLaren’s Formula One team for all the years that really matter, Ron Dennis, has cut his remaining ties with the company he is so synonymous with.

Having helped lead the F1 team to victory since the 1980s with legendary drivers like Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Häkkinen, and Lewis Hamilton — while also serving as CEO, chairman, and founder of McLaren Technology Group — it was almost unfathomable to see him removed from his position as head of the company last year. However, we assumed he’d be sticking around on the board for a while.

That hasn’t turned out to be the case. Dennis is selling his remaining stock to Mumtalakat, the Bahrain sovereign investment group, and the French-Saudi entrepreneur Mansour Ojjeh for an estimated £275 million ($362 million).  (Read More…)

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