Hirings/Firings auto news

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VW production boss Macht quits amidst MQB platform problems

08/04/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Hirings/Firings, Volkswagen

Volkswagen AG Presents Financial Results For 2010

Volkswagen Group has sacked - well, he left "by mutual agreement," at any rate - its production chief, Michael Macht, marking the second executive dispatched by the automaker in the last week. Macht, pictured above, left, with VW Group Chairman Martin Winterkorn, was the man responsible for overseeing the introduction of VW's extremely important MQB platform, which will underpin a huge array of vehicles in the coming years.

However, the introduction has not gone to plan. One of the most important MQB cars, the new Golf, has faced delays at VW's Wolfsburg factory, according to Automotive News Europe. Those delays have led to some pricey overtime, which was apparently the straw that broke the camel's back for VW's supreme boss. According to ANE, sources inside the company said Winterkorn was "unhappy" with the MQB rollout.

Macht originally joined Porsche in 1990, and ran the sports car manufacturer up until 2010, when he was plucked from the position in favor of Matthias Mueller. Thomas Ulbrich, head of production for the VW brand, will take over for Macht on an interim basis.

Scroll down for the official announcement from Volkswagen.

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Autoblog Podcast #391

07/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Podcasts, Hirings/Firings, Supercars, Dodge, Hyundai, Infiniti, Lincoln, McLaren

Autoblog Podcast logo

Episode #391 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Mike Harley and Brandon Turkus talk about the appointment of Kumar Galhotra to run Lincoln, changes coming for Scion, the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, and which cars won't live into 2015. We also take a quick detour to talk about the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prototype, which Mike Harley just came back from driving. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the new rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!

Autoblog Podcast #391:

Topics:

  • 2015 Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Prototype
  • New boss at Lincoln
  • Scion xB, iQ ending soon
  • Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
  • Cars that won't live to 2015

In the Autoblog Garage:

  • McLaren 650S
  • Hyundai Genesis

Hosts: Dan Roth, Michael Harley, Brandon Turkus

Runtime: 01:42:06

Rundown:

  • Intro and Garage - 00:00
  • Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge - 30:05
  • Kumar Galhotra to Lincoln - 34:32
  • Scion Changes - 43:58
  • Dodge Charger Hellcat - 54:25
  • Discontinued Cars - 01:06:24
  • Q&A - 01:22:59

Get the podcast:

[UStream] Listen live on Mondays at 10 PM Eastern at UStream

[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes

[RSS] Add the Autoblog Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator

[MP3] Download the MP3 directly

Feedback:

Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com

Review the show in iTunes

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American F1 driver Alexander Rossi signs with Marussia

07/28/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, Hirings/Firings

Alexander Rossi at Marussia

American fans of Formula One racing have a new team to root for as the Marussia F1 Team has named Alexander Rossi as its official reserve driver for the remainder of the season.

The 22-year-old native of Auburn, California, has advanced through the single-seater ranks since winning the Skip Barber Western Regional championship and placing third nationally in 2006. He won the Formula BMW Americas title in 2008 and proceeded to Formula Renault 3.5 and GP2 where he competes currently, winning races in both series. For the past three seasons he's driven for Caterham, racing for its GP2 team and acting as test driver for its F1 team. Once the team was sold, however, Rossi jumped ship. He's driving for the championship-winning Campos Racing team in GP2 and just announced his signing with Marussia on Thursday.

The move is only a minor step up for Rossi as the Marussia team is only two points ahead of Caterham this season, but will hopefully lead to the young Californian getting some seat time in an official test session or two - if not being called up to replace Max Chilton or Jules Bianchi in the race seat at some point before the end of the season or maybe getting promoted to a full-time drive for next year's championship.

Rossi is the first American to break into F1 racing since Scott Speed, who left the series in 2007. The last American driver to win a grand prix was Mario Andretti back in 1978.

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Weekly Recap: New bosses try to jump-start Cadillac and Lincoln

07/26/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Hirings/Firings, Aston Martin, Cadillac, Dodge, Ford, GM, Infiniti, Lincoln, Nissan, Luxury, Read This

Cadillac and Lincoln

Both of America's domestic luxury brands seem to be stuck in neutral.

It's ironic that Cadillac and Lincoln got new bosses within days of each other this month. It's also a commentary on the fact both of America's domestic luxury brands seem to be stuck in neutral.

Cadillac has received barrels of good ink in recent years, thanks to its sporty, fun-to-drive cars with gaudy horsepower figures and eye-catching designs. The problem is sales have been uneven, and this year they've fallen 1.9 percent to 82,117 vehicles.

Enter Johan de Nysschen. You know him from such roles as the head of Audi in the United States and more recently, as the global boss of Infiniti. Both brands have somewhat underdog status compared with segment leaders Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus, and de Nysschen was lauded for his work at his previous stops, overseeing sales and product successes.

Cadillac went out and got a "name" with a proven track record. The 54-year-old South African brings strong leadership and industry credibility to a brand that needs both. He'll be tested right away, as 554,328 Cadillac CTS and SRX models were recalled in June in the United States for ignition switch problems. More recalls involving Cadillacs and other General Motors vehicles for a welding problem was also announced in July.

He's taking over for Bob Ferguson, who had been dividing his time between Cadillac and handling GM recall response on Capital Hill. Ferguson moved to a full-time role as GM's top public policy and government relations executive in July.

Meanwhile, Ford tapped a relatively obscure engineer, Kumar Galhotra, to lead Lincoln. He's replacing an industry star, Jim Farley, who's giving up the reins at Lincoln to focus on his other job - overseeing Ford's global marketing efforts.

Galhotra doesn't have as much name recognition as Farley or de Nysschen, but that means nothing. Lincoln needs momentum, and the only way Galhotra will ultimately be measured is through increasing sales and strengthening the product portfolio.

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Ford's Galhotra succeeds Farley as head of Lincoln

07/24/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Hirings/Firings, Ford, Lincoln, Luxury

Kumar Galhotra

Ford Motor Company is announcing a major personnel shakeup that could have a dramatic effect on the future of the Lincoln division. Kumar Galhotra (pictured above), currently vice president of engineering at Ford for all of its vehicles worldwide, is taking over as the president of the luxury brand on September 1, replacing Jim Farley. The automaker is also hiring a new head of advanced engineering.

Galhotra has a huge job ahead of him as the new boss of Lincoln worldwide, overseeing product development, marketing, sales and service. His task is to turn the luxury division into a world-class brand as quickly as possible, and he reports directly to Ford President and CEO Mark Fields.

"These changes underscore our commitment to build on the success of our One Ford plan by accelerating our pace of progress. They also make clear we are serious about Lincoln as a world-class luxury brand and that product excellence and innovation are what will deliver growth and define our entire company going forward," said Fields in the company's announcement.

Since starting at the Blue Oval in 1988, Galhotra has had a long history of positions in engineering and planning. Perhaps most importantly to his new job, he led product development in the Asia Pacific and Africa regions starting in 2009. The experience may have give him some vital insight for Lincoln's imminent expansion into China.

In one other personnel shift, Paul Mascarenas is retiring from his role as vice president of research and advanced engineering after spending 32 years with Ford. His replacement is Dr. Ken Washington, a VP of R&D for space technology at Lockheed Martin. The new role puts Washington in charge of the Blue Oval's technology strategy. Scroll down to read the full release about all of the changes.

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GM could add 1,750 new jobs, $800M to MI economy

07/23/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Government/Legal, Hirings/Firings, GM

Renaissance Center Light Bands

Grim as things may be at Detroit's Renaissance Center, General Motors is soldiering on, thanks in part to a change in its state tax credit from the Michigan Strategic Fund. The amendment could lead to $800 million in new investments in the state, as well as 1,750 new jobs.

According to The Detroit News, the amendment boosts the number of jobs eligible for the state tax credit at the company's Warren Technical Center from 5,000 to 6,750, leading to speculation that the new positions will be created at the sprawling, suburban campus.

That speculation is backed up by a statement from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which said, "The 1,750 additional jobs will be the result of the consolidation of various engineering functions from outside of Michigan to a site in Michigan."

As for the $800 million in new investment, MEDC claims that GM will upgrade "various facilities in Michigan in anticipation of future vehicle platforms and programs."

GM, however, refused to speculate on the impact of the tax credit changes, with spokesperson Heather Rosenker telling The News:

"GM's prospects are bright, and we want Michigan to play an important part in the company's growth. We are pleased with the state of Michigan's action which makes a strong business case for potential future jobs and investment at GM facilities across Michigan."

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No heads have rolled at NHTSA over GM ignition switch recall scandal

07/22/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Government/Legal, Hirings/Firings, Recalls/TSBs, GM

Dep't Of Transportation Discusses Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communication Technology

At this point, there's little question that General Motors deserves the bulk of the blame for not recalling the millions of vehicles affected by the ignition switch problem earlier than it did. And to a large degree, GM is facing the music and accepting blame for its mistakes, even if that acceptance won't bring back the 13 or more deaths attributed to the faulty components. But does GM deserve all the blame?

Fingers are now being pointed at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the government body responsible for investigating potentially problematic vehicles and ordering recalls where necessary. But according to the administration and the Department of Transportation of which it's part, NHTSA is not to blame.

In fact, while GM has fired 15 employees over the ignition-switch debacle, The Detroit News notes that NHTSA has not dismissed or even disciplined a single employee for not having caught the problem sooner. Both NHTSA chief David Friedman (pictured above, right) and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (behind Friedman) say that the government is not to blame, and needn't be held accountable for not having ordered a recall because it could not have known there was a problem. This despite, NHTSA officials having alerted the agency to the issue back in 2007.

NHTSA may have to face some difficult questions and potential repercussions soon, however, as the commerce committees in both the House and the Senate plan to hold hearings into the matter later this year.

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Former Ford president, Jaguar chairman Nick Scheele dead at 70

07/21/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Hirings/Firings, Ford, Jaguar

Nick ScheeleWe have the privilege here at Autoblog of reporting a lot of good news, but it is our duty as well to report the bad news and sad news as well. And this is one of those occasions as the automotive industry mourns the passing of one of its leaders.

Nick Scheele was born in the UK in 1944 and joined the Ford Motor Company upon graduating from the University of Durham in 1966, staying within the Blue Oval's portfolio for the entirety of his career. After moving to North America in 1978, he rose through the ranks to become president of Ford's Mexican operations in 1988. After acquiring Jaguar, Ford appointed Scheele as its chairman.

Scheele subsequently acted as chairman of all of Ford's European operations, making difficult decisions to take the division out of the red and into the black. He briefly headed up Ford's North American division before he was appointed in 2001 as president and chief operating officer of the global automaker, working under CEO Bill Ford following the departure of Jacques Nasser departure and retaining the role until his retirement in 2005.

Throughout his career and into retirement, Scheele was an active member of his community, serving as chancellor of the University of Warwick, chairing campaigns for the United Way of Southeastern Michigan and promoting the activities of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. His role in saving Jaguar and service to the British automotive industry earned him a knighthood in 2001. Sir Nicholas is survived by his wife Ros, children Paul, Hannah and Jim and five grandchildren, to whom we extend our condolences.

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Nico Rosberg signs new contract with Mercedes F1

07/17/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, Hirings/Firings, Mercedes Benz

Nico Rosberg

When it comes to Formula One, you've got to admit that Mercedes has an eye for talent. When Honda pulled out of the sport, Mercedes swooped in and powered the Brawn GP team to the championship, then took it over and made two interesting hires to fill the race seats: an old talent in the form of Michael Schumacher, and a young one in Nico Rosberg. Schumi's return from retirement unfortunately didn't pan out, but it's kept Rosberg - who had already been on the grid for five seasons after winning the GP2 championship - on board ever since. And needless to say, it's finally paying off.

After languishing in the middle of the standings for four years but chalking up his first three checkered flags, Nico has been leading the championship this season, now just four points ahead of his teammate (and chief rival) Lewis Hamilton as the circus heads to Hockenheim for Nico and his team's home race. It's been a command performance for both driver and team this season - landing in either first or second at every single race - so little wonder that Rosberg and Mercedes have signed a new extended contract.

The team isn't saying in the press release below just how long the extension is for, saying only (in typical F1 style) that it's a "multi-year contract." If Mercedes and Nico - the son of 1982 world champion Keke Rosberg - can keep up the winning pace through the rest of the season and into the next, it will undoubtedly prove to be the smartest move either party has made yet.

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Autoblog Podcast #389

07/17/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Podcasts, Etc., Hirings/Firings, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Subaru, Volkswagen

Autoblog Podcast logo

Episode #389 of the Autoblog podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Chris Paukert, and Mark Pereira from Autoblog Canada talk about Johan deNysschen's move to Cadillac, rumors of more BMW nomenclature changes, a second generation for the Subaru BRZ, and cars from 2004 that we miss. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the new rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!

Autoblog Podcast #389:

Topics:

  • Johan de Nysschen moves to Cadillac
  • BMW model designations changing even more
  • Subaru BRZ getting second generation
  • Cars We Miss

In the Autoblog Garage:

  • 2014 Ducati 899 Panigale
  • 2015 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2015 Volkswagen GTI
  • 2015 Chevrolet Silverato 2500 Diesel

Hosts: Dan Roth, Chris Paukert, Mark Pereira

Runtime: 01:59:10

Rundown:

  • Intro and Garage - 00:00
  • Johan deNysschen - 36:12
  • BMW Nomenclature - 53:58
  • BRZ - 56:27
  • Cars We Miss - 01:05:07
  • Q&A - 01:30:09

Get the podcast:

[UStream] Listen live on Mondays at 10 PM Eastern at UStream

[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes

[RSS] Add the Autoblog Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator

[MP3] Download the MP3 directly

Feedback:

Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com

Review the show in iTunes

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