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  1. Mini has been struggling in the U.S. for the past few as more consumers shun small cars. The brand which expected annual sales to total 100,000 vehicles by 2017, peaked at about 66,500 models in 2013 according to Automotive News. Sales through the first ten months of the years have totaled 37,359. This isn't good news for the 127 standalone Mini dealers in the U.S. as it makes it tough for owners to justify the investment. In 2016, 45 percent of Mini dealers reported being unprofitable. A year later, that number rose to 54 percent. "As a dealer and a manufacturer you have a vision of where the brand is going, and you have to prepare for it. In this case, the vision now isn't what it was when some of these stores were built," explained Jason Willis, a member of the Mini National Dealer Council and general manager of fixed operations at Willis Auto Campus in Des Moines, Iowa. Mini's parent company, BMW is considering various options to help improve profitability. One of the options on the table is allowing dealers to integrate Mini into their BMW stores. To make sure the brands stand apart, Mini is looking into having a separate showroom with dedicated employees for sales and service. "We've given a lot of flexibility for the dealers to present ideas. This is to help make sure that, until our next wave of product, and the market becomes more favorable, our dealers each remain a strong and going concern," said Thomas Felbermair, vice president of Mini Region Americas. But there comes an issue with this idea. Mini has 31 dealers that don't have a BMW dealership that they can integrate into. A spokesman for Mini said they "are looking at additional forms of support for stores that remain fully exclusive," but didn't expand into how they plan on doing that. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  2. Mini has been struggling in the U.S. for the past few as more consumers shun small cars. The brand which expected annual sales to total 100,000 vehicles by 2017, peaked at about 66,500 models in 2013 according to Automotive News. Sales through the first ten months of the years have totaled 37,359. This isn't good news for the 127 standalone Mini dealers in the U.S. as it makes it tough for owners to justify the investment. In 2016, 45 percent of Mini dealers reported being unprofitable. A year later, that number rose to 54 percent. "As a dealer and a manufacturer you have a vision of where the brand is going, and you have to prepare for it. In this case, the vision now isn't what it was when some of these stores were built," explained Jason Willis, a member of the Mini National Dealer Council and general manager of fixed operations at Willis Auto Campus in Des Moines, Iowa. Mini's parent company, BMW is considering various options to help improve profitability. One of the options on the table is allowing dealers to integrate Mini into their BMW stores. To make sure the brands stand apart, Mini is looking into having a separate showroom with dedicated employees for sales and service. "We've given a lot of flexibility for the dealers to present ideas. This is to help make sure that, until our next wave of product, and the market becomes more favorable, our dealers each remain a strong and going concern," said Thomas Felbermair, vice president of Mini Region Americas. But there comes an issue with this idea. Mini has 31 dealers that don't have a BMW dealership that they can integrate into. A spokesman for Mini said they "are looking at additional forms of support for stores that remain fully exclusive," but didn't expand into how they plan on doing that. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  3. Scott Keogh, Audi of America's president will soon have a new job come November 1st. He will become CEO of Volkswagen Group's North American operations, taking over Hinrich Woebcken who held the position since April 2016. This is a big deal since Keogh will be the first American to hold the top position for Volkswagen's North America branch in 25 years. Keogh has an impressive track record at Audi when he joined in 2006 as their chief marking officer. He would play a key role in boosting the awareness of the brand. In 2012, he was named president and would preside over one of the longest sales streaks that continues to this day. His new assignment is going to be tough. As Automotive News points out, Volkswagen dealers have the " lowest profit margins of any brand in the U.S." A number of Volkswagen dealers also struggle with customer service. Keogh has worked on both at Audi, helping dealers improve profits and boosting customer satisfaction - vaulting itself into the top three. “Hinrich J. Woebcken has brought the Volkswagen brand back on track for success in the U.S. and the North American region. Considering the challenging conditions, these achievements deserve my dedicated recognition. After the successful comeback of the Volkswagen brand, Scott Keogh, who led Audi to excellence in the U.S., will build upon the momentum and implement the next stage in the growth strategy as we continue to develop Volkswagen into a more relevant player in North America,“ said Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG in a statement. Woebcken will be sticking around Volkswagen as an adviser. Keogh's replacement at Audi will be Mark Del Rosso, currently the head of Bentley's Aamerican division. Source: Volkswagen, Automotive News (Subscription Required) SCOTT KEOGH NAMED HEAD OF VOLKSWAGEN GROUP OF AMERICA Hinrich J. Woebcken remains available to the company as an adviser Mark Del Rosso, head of Bentley Motors Inc., Americas, named president of Audi of America HERNDON, Va. (October 10, 2018) – Scott Keogh, head of Audi of America, was named president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America as well as head of the Volkswagen brand for the North American region. Keogh, who joined Audi in 2006, will succeed Hinrich J. Woebcken, who led the successful transformation of Volkswagen in North America. Woebcken will remain with the company as an adviser. Keogh’s successor is Mark Del Rosso, president and CEO of Bentley Motors, Inc., Americas, and former chief operating officer of Audi of America. Keogh and Woebcken's new roles are effective Nov. 1. Del Rosso joins Audi Dec. 1. A replacement for Del Rosso will be named later. Keogh, 49, joined Audi as chief marketing officer, where he led the revival of the Audi brand with innovative marketing tactics that lead to record awareness and brand strength. In 2012, he was appointed president, building on the momentum to help reach record customer satisfaction levels and double sales from 2010 to 2015. Woebcken, 58, an industrial engineer by training, was named CEO of the newly created North America region of the Volkswagen brand in January 2016 and then president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. He began his career with Krauss-Maffei in 1985. After holding positions in sales and marketing, he became managing director responsible for sales, marketing and after-sales with Dürr AG in 1997, before joining BMW as head of technical purchasing in 2004. Before joining VW, he was BMW's senior vice president, driving dynamics, and a member of the board of management at Knorr-Bremse AG. He will continue to be available to the company in the North American region as senior executive strategy adviser. “Hinrich J. Woebcken has brought the Volkswagen brand back on track for success in the U.S. and the North American region. Considering the challenging conditions, these achievements deserve my dedicated recognition," said Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG. "After the successful comeback of the Volkswagen brand, Scott Keogh, who led Audi to excellence in the U.S., will build upon the momentum and implement the next stage in the growth strategy as we continue to develop Volkswagen into a more relevant player in North America.“ Del Rosso, 54, is a graduate of the University of Southern California and an experienced marketing and sales executive with extensive expertise in the premium sector. He started his career with Toyota Motor Sales in 1991, holding various senior corporate and regional positions throughout the U.S. for Lexus and Toyota. In 2008, he became executive vice president, COO of Audi of America and was appointed president and CEO of Bentley Motors, Inc., Americas in 2017. View full article
  4. Scott Keogh, Audi of America's president will soon have a new job come November 1st. He will become CEO of Volkswagen Group's North American operations, taking over Hinrich Woebcken who held the position since April 2016. This is a big deal since Keogh will be the first American to hold the top position for Volkswagen's North America branch in 25 years. Keogh has an impressive track record at Audi when he joined in 2006 as their chief marking officer. He would play a key role in boosting the awareness of the brand. In 2012, he was named president and would preside over one of the longest sales streaks that continues to this day. His new assignment is going to be tough. As Automotive News points out, Volkswagen dealers have the " lowest profit margins of any brand in the U.S." A number of Volkswagen dealers also struggle with customer service. Keogh has worked on both at Audi, helping dealers improve profits and boosting customer satisfaction - vaulting itself into the top three. “Hinrich J. Woebcken has brought the Volkswagen brand back on track for success in the U.S. and the North American region. Considering the challenging conditions, these achievements deserve my dedicated recognition. After the successful comeback of the Volkswagen brand, Scott Keogh, who led Audi to excellence in the U.S., will build upon the momentum and implement the next stage in the growth strategy as we continue to develop Volkswagen into a more relevant player in North America,“ said Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG in a statement. Woebcken will be sticking around Volkswagen as an adviser. Keogh's replacement at Audi will be Mark Del Rosso, currently the head of Bentley's Aamerican division. Source: Volkswagen, Automotive News (Subscription Required) SCOTT KEOGH NAMED HEAD OF VOLKSWAGEN GROUP OF AMERICA Hinrich J. Woebcken remains available to the company as an adviser Mark Del Rosso, head of Bentley Motors Inc., Americas, named president of Audi of America HERNDON, Va. (October 10, 2018) – Scott Keogh, head of Audi of America, was named president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America as well as head of the Volkswagen brand for the North American region. Keogh, who joined Audi in 2006, will succeed Hinrich J. Woebcken, who led the successful transformation of Volkswagen in North America. Woebcken will remain with the company as an adviser. Keogh’s successor is Mark Del Rosso, president and CEO of Bentley Motors, Inc., Americas, and former chief operating officer of Audi of America. Keogh and Woebcken's new roles are effective Nov. 1. Del Rosso joins Audi Dec. 1. A replacement for Del Rosso will be named later. Keogh, 49, joined Audi as chief marketing officer, where he led the revival of the Audi brand with innovative marketing tactics that lead to record awareness and brand strength. In 2012, he was appointed president, building on the momentum to help reach record customer satisfaction levels and double sales from 2010 to 2015. Woebcken, 58, an industrial engineer by training, was named CEO of the newly created North America region of the Volkswagen brand in January 2016 and then president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. He began his career with Krauss-Maffei in 1985. After holding positions in sales and marketing, he became managing director responsible for sales, marketing and after-sales with Dürr AG in 1997, before joining BMW as head of technical purchasing in 2004. Before joining VW, he was BMW's senior vice president, driving dynamics, and a member of the board of management at Knorr-Bremse AG. He will continue to be available to the company in the North American region as senior executive strategy adviser. “Hinrich J. Woebcken has brought the Volkswagen brand back on track for success in the U.S. and the North American region. Considering the challenging conditions, these achievements deserve my dedicated recognition," said Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG. "After the successful comeback of the Volkswagen brand, Scott Keogh, who led Audi to excellence in the U.S., will build upon the momentum and implement the next stage in the growth strategy as we continue to develop Volkswagen into a more relevant player in North America.“ Del Rosso, 54, is a graduate of the University of Southern California and an experienced marketing and sales executive with extensive expertise in the premium sector. He started his career with Toyota Motor Sales in 1991, holding various senior corporate and regional positions throughout the U.S. for Lexus and Toyota. In 2008, he became executive vice president, COO of Audi of America and was appointed president and CEO of Bentley Motors, Inc., Americas in 2017.
  5. The 2019 Buick Envision has an omission that no other Buick model has at this moment, the lack of the 'Buick' name on the back. At the time, we thought this wasn't a big deal. Maybe someone at GM forgot to put the name badge on the Envision. But this is a bigger deal than we first thought. Late last week, GM Authority learned from brand reps that Envision will be the first Buick model to drop the name badge. Other Buick models will follow in the 2019 model year. Since then, Automotive News has gotten confirmation about this decision. "It was a small running change that we didn't view as especially worth announcing to the world, but I've been pretty amazed by the interest in it in the past couple days," Buick spokesman Stuart Fowle told the publication. Fowle explained the reason for dropping the 'Buick' script is consistency across marketplaces. Models sold in China don't have the 'Buick' name on the vehicles. Market research also showed "that 3 out of 4 consumers recognize the tri-shield badge as Buick without seeing the name." "We are in the minority of brands that have their badge in addition to having their name on the back of the vehicle. It was like we were saying Buick on the back of the car two times," said Fowle. Source: GM Authority, Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  6. Lincoln launched a pilot program for its own subscription service through Ford's Canvas earlier this year in the Los Angeles and the San Francisco areas. Unlike other programs that offer new vehicles, Lincoln's program offered off-lease vehicles that ranged from 2015 to 2017 model years. This allowed Lincoln to offer lower prices than competitors - prices ranged from $500 to $950 plus variable pricing on the amount of miles per month. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Lincoln's subscription service isn't doing so hot. “I’ve been surprised how few people are genuinely interested in that type of ownership. If you had asked me a year ago, I would have said this is the next big thing. A lot of people are struggling to make the math work,” said Lincoln’s director of marketing, sales and service, Robert Parker. Parker explained that most of the customers who signed up needed a vehicle for a short time like searching for a new vehicle or needing something to get them around while their car was in the shop. “The amount of people coming out after one or two months is very high. It’s just kind of an interim process,” said Parker. Lincoln is going to be making some changes to their program, although it is unclear what those might be. Parker threw out the suggestion of involving Lincoln dealers in the service, along with expanding vehicle ability. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  7. Lincoln launched a pilot program for its own subscription service through Ford's Canvas earlier this year in the Los Angeles and the San Francisco areas. Unlike other programs that offer new vehicles, Lincoln's program offered off-lease vehicles that ranged from 2015 to 2017 model years. This allowed Lincoln to offer lower prices than competitors - prices ranged from $500 to $950 plus variable pricing on the amount of miles per month. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Lincoln's subscription service isn't doing so hot. “I’ve been surprised how few people are genuinely interested in that type of ownership. If you had asked me a year ago, I would have said this is the next big thing. A lot of people are struggling to make the math work,” said Lincoln’s director of marketing, sales and service, Robert Parker. Parker explained that most of the customers who signed up needed a vehicle for a short time like searching for a new vehicle or needing something to get them around while their car was in the shop. “The amount of people coming out after one or two months is very high. It’s just kind of an interim process,” said Parker. Lincoln is going to be making some changes to their program, although it is unclear what those might be. Parker threw out the suggestion of involving Lincoln dealers in the service, along with expanding vehicle ability. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  8. The talk about whether any of the major auto shows still matter has been going on for few years as a number of automakers pulling out has been increasing. But what you haven't heard is a major head of automaker questioning them, until now. “Motor shows are dead,” said Herbert Diess, chairman of the Volkswagen Group. “They are a product of the 1960s and they are not as relevant anymore. They’re not delivering what we want and they’re not delivering what car buyers want.” The Detroit Auto show is a poster child of this as automakers in the past few years have been pulling out. Reasons are numerous: Automakers are holding their own events as they can control the message and not fight with others for attention in the spotlight. It's also quite expensive as an automaker needs to design the exhibit, bring in labor to build and tear down, getting the vehicles to the show, and much more. Diess believes the likes of the Goodwood Festival of Speed could be one way for the auto show to evolve. “People need to see more interaction with the product. They expect it. Those days of relying on tradition are gone. It’s events like the Goodwood Festival of Speed that are showing us the modern way to show cars to people.” Organizers of the Detroit Auto Show are taking note. Earlier this week, organizers announced the show would be moving to June in 2020 and feature such things as rides and drives of new vehicles. Source: Motoring View full article
  9. The talk about whether any of the major auto shows still matter has been going on for few years as a number of automakers pulling out has been increasing. But what you haven't heard is a major head of automaker questioning them, until now. “Motor shows are dead,” said Herbert Diess, chairman of the Volkswagen Group. “They are a product of the 1960s and they are not as relevant anymore. They’re not delivering what we want and they’re not delivering what car buyers want.” The Detroit Auto show is a poster child of this as automakers in the past few years have been pulling out. Reasons are numerous: Automakers are holding their own events as they can control the message and not fight with others for attention in the spotlight. It's also quite expensive as an automaker needs to design the exhibit, bring in labor to build and tear down, getting the vehicles to the show, and much more. Diess believes the likes of the Goodwood Festival of Speed could be one way for the auto show to evolve. “People need to see more interaction with the product. They expect it. Those days of relying on tradition are gone. It’s events like the Goodwood Festival of Speed that are showing us the modern way to show cars to people.” Organizers of the Detroit Auto Show are taking note. Earlier this week, organizers announced the show would be moving to June in 2020 and feature such things as rides and drives of new vehicles. Source: Motoring
  10. Genesis can't seem to make up its mind of what it wants to do with their dealer network. Back in January, the brand announced that it would be cutting back on the number of dealers eligible to sell Genesis models from 350 to 100. The 100 dealers would be located in 48 markets including Chicago and LA. The move unsurprisingly left a number of Hyundai dealers upset as they had spent a fair amount of money to make their showrooms and service areas ready for Genesis models. Automotive News reports that Genesis has made some changes to their dealer plans. According to a brief provided by an unnamed dealer, all Hyundai dealers will be eligible to apply to sell and service Genesis models. Those who apply will need to have separate facilities for Genesis models and will only be allowed to sell 2019 model year vehicles. The current 350 Genesis dealers can continue to sell model or take the settlement money that was part of the company's original plan announced earlier this year. "By having more nationwide distribution, you're going to allay consumer fears that they'll be traveling and not be able to get service on their vehicle," said the unnamed dealer. A Genesis spokesman told Automotive News that it's possible that there could be more than 100 Genesis dealers. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  11. Genesis can't seem to make up its mind of what it wants to do with their dealer network. Back in January, the brand announced that it would be cutting back on the number of dealers eligible to sell Genesis models from 350 to 100. The 100 dealers would be located in 48 markets including Chicago and LA. The move unsurprisingly left a number of Hyundai dealers upset as they had spent a fair amount of money to make their showrooms and service areas ready for Genesis models. Automotive News reports that Genesis has made some changes to their dealer plans. According to a brief provided by an unnamed dealer, all Hyundai dealers will be eligible to apply to sell and service Genesis models. Those who apply will need to have separate facilities for Genesis models and will only be allowed to sell 2019 model year vehicles. The current 350 Genesis dealers can continue to sell model or take the settlement money that was part of the company's original plan announced earlier this year. "By having more nationwide distribution, you're going to allay consumer fears that they'll be traveling and not be able to get service on their vehicle," said the unnamed dealer. A Genesis spokesman told Automotive News that it's possible that there could be more than 100 Genesis dealers. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  12. The Volkswagen emblem is easily one of the most recognizable emblems in the auto world, next to Chevrolet's bowtie and Mercedes-Benz's three-pointed star. But the German automaker is planning to make some tweaks for a new future. At a press briefing in Berlin, Volkswagen's chief marketing officer Jochen Sengpiehl said the new logo would debut next year. Details about what the emblem will look like are being kept close to the chest, but Sengpiehl did say it would be updated to look good on their vehicles and smartphone screens. “The brand is not in good shape compared to previous years,” as the marque lost some of its emotional appeal by trying to be “too German. It’s not only because of the diesel scandal,” said Sengpiehl. The goal is to try to and make Volkswagen more approachable and less stiff consumers and "highlight innovations to justify a higher price tag" on their vehicles. Sengpiehl is also planning to change up the company's marketing. To this end, Volkswagen is inviting advertising agencies to pitch ideas in the coming months. Volkswagen is also planning on setting up 'marketing hubs' in key markets that will tailor messages to their respective markets. Source: Bloomberg
  13. The Volkswagen emblem is easily one of the most recognizable emblems in the auto world, next to Chevrolet's bowtie and Mercedes-Benz's three-pointed star. But the German automaker is planning to make some tweaks for a new future. At a press briefing in Berlin, Volkswagen's chief marketing officer Jochen Sengpiehl said the new logo would debut next year. Details about what the emblem will look like are being kept close to the chest, but Sengpiehl did say it would be updated to look good on their vehicles and smartphone screens. “The brand is not in good shape compared to previous years,” as the marque lost some of its emotional appeal by trying to be “too German. It’s not only because of the diesel scandal,” said Sengpiehl. The goal is to try to and make Volkswagen more approachable and less stiff consumers and "highlight innovations to justify a higher price tag" on their vehicles. Sengpiehl is also planning to change up the company's marketing. To this end, Volkswagen is inviting advertising agencies to pitch ideas in the coming months. Volkswagen is also planning on setting up 'marketing hubs' in key markets that will tailor messages to their respective markets. Source: Bloomberg View full article
  14. Yesterday, Volkswagen's supervisory board showed current CEO Matthias Müller the door and announced that Dr. Herbert Diess, the current head of the Volkswagen brand will take his place. This confirms reports earlier this week about a change in leadership. In a statement, Volkswagen said the decision of Müller's departure was “mutual” and will be effective immediately. “Matthias Müller has done outstanding work for the Volkswagen Group. He assumed the chairmanship of the Board of Management in the fall of 2015 when the Company faced the greatest challenge in its history. Not only did he safely navigate Volkswagen through that time; together with his team, he also fundamentally realigned the Group’s strategy, initiated cultural change and, with great personal commitment, made sure that the Volkswagen Group not just stayed on track but is now more robust than ever before. For that, he is due the thanks of the entire Company,” said Hans Dieter Pötsch, chairman of the supervisory board. Diess' rise to CEO is surprising considering he joined Volkswagen from BMW in 2015 - just a few months before the diesel emission scandal came to light. He has made great strides in improving Volkswagen's tendency to spend money like its going out of style. This was important during the aftermath of diesel emission scandal. “The Volkswagen Group is a union of strong brands with great potential. Matthias Müller has laid the groundwork for our transformation. My most important task will now be to join with our management team and our Group workforce in consistently pursuing and pushing forward our evolution into a profitable, world-leading provider of sustainable mobility. In a phase of profound upheaval in the automotive industry, it is vital for Volkswagen to pick up speed and make an unmistakable mark in e-mobility, the digitalization of the automobile and transportation as well as new mobility services,” Diess said in a statement. This wasn't the only change made by Volkswagen's supervisory board yesterday. The company will reorganize their passenger car brands into three groups. Volume: Seat, Skoda, and Volkswagen Premium: Audi Super Premium: Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Porsche Volkswagen's truck division will go into their own separate unit. Diess is also planning a review of all the companies under the Volkswagen group umbrella (Ducati motorcycles and Renk, a transmission maker) to see whether it makes sense to keep them. "We've lost a great deal of trust with customers. It will be a long, rough road to gain it back," said Diess. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), 2, Reuters, Volkswagen EXTENSIVE REVISION OF VOLKSWAGEN GROUP MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE DECIDED Apr 12, 2018 Board of Management and Supervisory Board pave the way for more efficient Group management Group will be organized into six business areas and the China region Dr. Herbert Diess follows Matthias Müller as Chairman of the Group’s Board of Management Supervisory Board thanks Matthias Müller for outstanding service New head of Human Resources and Organization – Gunnar Kilian to follow Karlheinz Blessing Dr. Garcia Sanz leaves the Company at his own request Porsche CEO Oliver Blume appointed to Group Board of Management WOLFSBURG, April 12, 2018 – The Board of Management and Supervisory Board of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft have resolved to extensively revise the Group’s management structure. Volkswagen is thus systematically continuing to transform its business and establishing even more efficient Group management in a phase of highly dynamic change in the Company and the entire automotive industry. In order to sustainably implement the new structure, there will be a number of changes on the Board of Management. Matthias Müller steps down as Chairman of the Board of Management by mutual agreement, effective immediately. At its meeting on Thursday, the Supervisory Board appointed Dr. Herbert Diess as his successor. Chairman of the Supervisory Board Hans Dieter Pötsch expressly thanked Müller for his dedication: “Matthias Müller has done outstanding work for the Volkswagen Group. He assumed the chairmanship of the Board of Management in the fall of 2015 when the Company faced the greatest challenge in its history. Not only did he safely navigate Volkswagen through that time; together with his team, he also fundamentally realigned the Group’s strategy, initiated cultural change and, with great personal commitment, made sure that the Volkswagen Group not just stayed on track but is now more robust than ever before. For that, he is due the thanks of the entire Company.” The introduction of the brand groups Volume, Premium and Super Premium, along with the planned preparation for capital market readiness of Truck & Bus, create the basis for a more subsidiary leadership of the Group. The Chairmen of the Board of Management responsible for the brand groups will be taking on additional Group management roles. Following this reorganization, Herbert Diess will be responsible for Group Development and Research, Rupert Stadler for Group Sales, and Oliver Blume for Group Production. Additional Group functions will be allocated according to the same principle. Due to the special significance of vehicle connectivity, Vehicle IT will be led by Herbert Diess himself; Company IT will be headed by Frank Witter. Procurement and Components are to be combined into one unit going forward. The new structure streamlines Group management, systematically leverages synergies in the individual operating units and speeds up decision-making. “The Volkswagen Group’s goal is and remains to align the Company and its brands with future needs, to safeguard its position among the leaders of the international automotive industry with innovativeness and profitability and to be instrumental in shaping tomorrow’s personal mobility with the strength of our Group brands. Herbert Diess is the right manager to do that. In realigning the Volkswagen brand, he has demonstrated to impressive effect the speed and rigor with which he can implement radical transformation processes. This accomplishment makes him predestined to fully implement our Strategy 2025 in the decisive years that are now to follow,” Pötsch says. “The Volkswagen Group is a union of strong brands with great potential. Matthias Müller has laid the groundwork for our transformation. My most important task will now be to join with our management team and our Group workforce in consistently pursuing and pushing forward our evolution into a profitable, world-leading provider of sustainable mobility. In a phase of profound upheaval in the automotive industry, it is vital for Volkswagen to pick up speed and make an unmistakable mark in e-mobility, the digitalization of the automobile and transportation as well as new mobility services,” Diess says. At its meeting today, the Supervisory Board also decided on two new appointments to the Group Board of Management. Dr. Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Board of Management at Porsche, will belong to the Group’s top governing body going forward. In addition, Gunnar Kilian, who until now has served as Secretary-General of the Volkswagen Group Works Council, has been appointed the new member of the Group Board of Management for Human Resources. He takes over the post from Dr. Karlheinz Blessing, who served in the role from the beginning of 2016. Dr. Blessing will be leaving the Board of Management by mutual agreement, but remains available to the Company in a consultative capacity for the remaining duration of his employment contract. Pötsch thanked Blessing for his service: “Dr. Blessing has been instrumental in realigning the Group during the past two years. He also contributed with great dedication to the evolution of the VW brand as part of the Volkswagen brand’s Future Pact. Dr. Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz, head of Procurement, leaves the Company at his own request. “During the past two decades, Dr. Garcia Sanz has built up a cutting-edge Procurement department. His leadership of the diesel task force was instrumental in overcoming the diesel crisis. As Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the SEAT brand, he also made a significant contribution to reinforcing the brand,” said Pötsch in gratitude. Ralf Brandstätter, Board of Management member responsible for Procurement for the VW brand, will take on this additional role provisionally.
  15. Yesterday, Volkswagen's supervisory board showed current CEO Matthias Müller the door and announced that Dr. Herbert Diess, the current head of the Volkswagen brand will take his place. This confirms reports earlier this week about a change in leadership. In a statement, Volkswagen said the decision of Müller's departure was “mutual” and will be effective immediately. “Matthias Müller has done outstanding work for the Volkswagen Group. He assumed the chairmanship of the Board of Management in the fall of 2015 when the Company faced the greatest challenge in its history. Not only did he safely navigate Volkswagen through that time; together with his team, he also fundamentally realigned the Group’s strategy, initiated cultural change and, with great personal commitment, made sure that the Volkswagen Group not just stayed on track but is now more robust than ever before. For that, he is due the thanks of the entire Company,” said Hans Dieter Pötsch, chairman of the supervisory board. Diess' rise to CEO is surprising considering he joined Volkswagen from BMW in 2015 - just a few months before the diesel emission scandal came to light. He has made great strides in improving Volkswagen's tendency to spend money like its going out of style. This was important during the aftermath of diesel emission scandal. “The Volkswagen Group is a union of strong brands with great potential. Matthias Müller has laid the groundwork for our transformation. My most important task will now be to join with our management team and our Group workforce in consistently pursuing and pushing forward our evolution into a profitable, world-leading provider of sustainable mobility. In a phase of profound upheaval in the automotive industry, it is vital for Volkswagen to pick up speed and make an unmistakable mark in e-mobility, the digitalization of the automobile and transportation as well as new mobility services,” Diess said in a statement. This wasn't the only change made by Volkswagen's supervisory board yesterday. The company will reorganize their passenger car brands into three groups. Volume: Seat, Skoda, and Volkswagen Premium: Audi Super Premium: Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Porsche Volkswagen's truck division will go into their own separate unit. Diess is also planning a review of all the companies under the Volkswagen group umbrella (Ducati motorcycles and Renk, a transmission maker) to see whether it makes sense to keep them. "We've lost a great deal of trust with customers. It will be a long, rough road to gain it back," said Diess. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), 2, Reuters, Volkswagen EXTENSIVE REVISION OF VOLKSWAGEN GROUP MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE DECIDED Apr 12, 2018 Board of Management and Supervisory Board pave the way for more efficient Group management Group will be organized into six business areas and the China region Dr. Herbert Diess follows Matthias Müller as Chairman of the Group’s Board of Management Supervisory Board thanks Matthias Müller for outstanding service New head of Human Resources and Organization – Gunnar Kilian to follow Karlheinz Blessing Dr. Garcia Sanz leaves the Company at his own request Porsche CEO Oliver Blume appointed to Group Board of Management WOLFSBURG, April 12, 2018 – The Board of Management and Supervisory Board of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft have resolved to extensively revise the Group’s management structure. Volkswagen is thus systematically continuing to transform its business and establishing even more efficient Group management in a phase of highly dynamic change in the Company and the entire automotive industry. In order to sustainably implement the new structure, there will be a number of changes on the Board of Management. Matthias Müller steps down as Chairman of the Board of Management by mutual agreement, effective immediately. At its meeting on Thursday, the Supervisory Board appointed Dr. Herbert Diess as his successor. Chairman of the Supervisory Board Hans Dieter Pötsch expressly thanked Müller for his dedication: “Matthias Müller has done outstanding work for the Volkswagen Group. He assumed the chairmanship of the Board of Management in the fall of 2015 when the Company faced the greatest challenge in its history. Not only did he safely navigate Volkswagen through that time; together with his team, he also fundamentally realigned the Group’s strategy, initiated cultural change and, with great personal commitment, made sure that the Volkswagen Group not just stayed on track but is now more robust than ever before. For that, he is due the thanks of the entire Company.” The introduction of the brand groups Volume, Premium and Super Premium, along with the planned preparation for capital market readiness of Truck & Bus, create the basis for a more subsidiary leadership of the Group. The Chairmen of the Board of Management responsible for the brand groups will be taking on additional Group management roles. Following this reorganization, Herbert Diess will be responsible for Group Development and Research, Rupert Stadler for Group Sales, and Oliver Blume for Group Production. Additional Group functions will be allocated according to the same principle. Due to the special significance of vehicle connectivity, Vehicle IT will be led by Herbert Diess himself; Company IT will be headed by Frank Witter. Procurement and Components are to be combined into one unit going forward. The new structure streamlines Group management, systematically leverages synergies in the individual operating units and speeds up decision-making. “The Volkswagen Group’s goal is and remains to align the Company and its brands with future needs, to safeguard its position among the leaders of the international automotive industry with innovativeness and profitability and to be instrumental in shaping tomorrow’s personal mobility with the strength of our Group brands. Herbert Diess is the right manager to do that. In realigning the Volkswagen brand, he has demonstrated to impressive effect the speed and rigor with which he can implement radical transformation processes. This accomplishment makes him predestined to fully implement our Strategy 2025 in the decisive years that are now to follow,” Pötsch says. “The Volkswagen Group is a union of strong brands with great potential. Matthias Müller has laid the groundwork for our transformation. My most important task will now be to join with our management team and our Group workforce in consistently pursuing and pushing forward our evolution into a profitable, world-leading provider of sustainable mobility. In a phase of profound upheaval in the automotive industry, it is vital for Volkswagen to pick up speed and make an unmistakable mark in e-mobility, the digitalization of the automobile and transportation as well as new mobility services,” Diess says. At its meeting today, the Supervisory Board also decided on two new appointments to the Group Board of Management. Dr. Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Board of Management at Porsche, will belong to the Group’s top governing body going forward. In addition, Gunnar Kilian, who until now has served as Secretary-General of the Volkswagen Group Works Council, has been appointed the new member of the Group Board of Management for Human Resources. He takes over the post from Dr. Karlheinz Blessing, who served in the role from the beginning of 2016. Dr. Blessing will be leaving the Board of Management by mutual agreement, but remains available to the Company in a consultative capacity for the remaining duration of his employment contract. Pötsch thanked Blessing for his service: “Dr. Blessing has been instrumental in realigning the Group during the past two years. He also contributed with great dedication to the evolution of the VW brand as part of the Volkswagen brand’s Future Pact. Dr. Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz, head of Procurement, leaves the Company at his own request. “During the past two decades, Dr. Garcia Sanz has built up a cutting-edge Procurement department. His leadership of the diesel task force was instrumental in overcoming the diesel crisis. As Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the SEAT brand, he also made a significant contribution to reinforcing the brand,” said Pötsch in gratitude. Ralf Brandstätter, Board of Management member responsible for Procurement for the VW brand, will take on this additional role provisionally. View full article
  16. William Maley

    Buick To Drop Name Badge Beginning in 2019

    The 2019 Buick Envision has an omission that no other Buick model has at this moment, the lack of the 'Buick' name on the back. At the time, we thought this wasn't a big deal. Maybe someone at GM forgot to put the name badge on the Envision. But this is a bigger deal than we first thought. Late last week, GM Authority learned from brand reps that Envision will be the first Buick model to drop the name badge. Other Buick models will follow in the 2019 model year. Since then, Automotive News has gotten confirmation about this decision. "It was a small running change that we didn't view as especially worth announcing to the world, but I've been pretty amazed by the interest in it in the past couple days," Buick spokesman Stuart Fowle told the publication. Fowle explained the reason for dropping the 'Buick' script is consistency across marketplaces. Models sold in China don't have the 'Buick' name on the vehicles. Market research also showed "that 3 out of 4 consumers recognize the tri-shield badge as Buick without seeing the name." "We are in the minority of brands that have their badge in addition to having their name on the back of the vehicle. It was like we were saying Buick on the back of the car two times," said Fowle. Source: GM Authority, Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  17. Hyundai had a put a lot of confidence into hydrogen being the future power source for vehicles. But much like Toyota, the Korean automaker is realizing that electrics are the way of the future and they might want to jump on the bandwagon soon. Today at a press conference in Seoul, Hyundai announced that it would be placing electric vehicles front and center with plans to launch several long-range EVs in the coming years. This includes an electric version of the Kona early next year and an electric sedan for Genesis in 2021 that is expected to have a range of 310 miles. Hyundai also confirmed a report by Reuters saying the company is working on a dedicated EV platform. "We're strengthening our eco-friendly car strategy, centering on electric vehicles," said Hyundai Executive Vice President Lee Kwang-guk. Hyundai isn't fully giving up on hydrogen. The automaker showed a concept version of its new fuel cell SUV that will replace the Tucson Hydrogen. Hyundai says the model can go 360 miles on one tank of hydrogen. It will launch in Korea next year, with the U.S. and Europe following sometime after. Source: Reuters View full article
  18. William Maley

    Hyundai Hops Aboard the EV Train

    Hyundai had a put a lot of confidence into hydrogen being the future power source for vehicles. But much like Toyota, the Korean automaker is realizing that electrics are the way of the future and they might want to jump on the bandwagon soon. Today at a press conference in Seoul, Hyundai announced that it would be placing electric vehicles front and center with plans to launch several long-range EVs in the coming years. This includes an electric version of the Kona early next year and an electric sedan for Genesis in 2021 that is expected to have a range of 310 miles. Hyundai also confirmed a report by Reuters saying the company is working on a dedicated EV platform. "We're strengthening our eco-friendly car strategy, centering on electric vehicles," said Hyundai Executive Vice President Lee Kwang-guk. Hyundai isn't fully giving up on hydrogen. The automaker showed a concept version of its new fuel cell SUV that will replace the Tucson Hydrogen. Hyundai says the model can go 360 miles on one tank of hydrogen. It will launch in Korea next year, with the U.S. and Europe following sometime after. Source: Reuters
  19. William Maley

    Ford News: Mark Fields Is Out As Ford CEO

    This morning, Ford announced that current CEO Mark Fields will be stepping down as CEO. Taking his place is Jim Hackett, former CEO of Steelcase (an office furniture manufacturer) and chairman of Ford's self-driving unit. “Mark Fields has been an outstanding leader and deserves a lot of credit for all he has accomplished in his many roles around the globe at Ford. His strong leadership was critical to our North American restructuring, our turnaround at the end of the last decade, and our record profits in the past two years," said Bill Ford in a statement. The news was first broke by Forbes last night and later corroborated by the New York Times last night. According to unnamed sources, Ford's Executive Chairman Bill Ford and the board of directors lost confidence in Fields' ability to lead the company as he was unable to rally employees around a common theme or make fast decisions. His predecessor, Alan Mullaly was very good at those things. “Without Alan, it’s back to the inmates running the asylum,” a source told Forbes. Not helping matters is Ford's stock price dropping 40 percent during Fields' three-year tenure. The New York Times reports that the decision to remove Fields as CEO took place on Friday with The Detroit News reporting that Bill Ford delivering the news to Fields after a board meeting. “We need to re-energize our business and sharpen our execution. The good news is we have the financial resources and the talent to get it done. But what we needed is a transformative leader who has done it before. And who not only has the vision, but also knows how to get the organization to move toward that vision," Ford said in an interview with The Detroit News. “Jim has done this before. And he’s done it at an industrial company. And he’s done it at a company where he redefined it from what it was to what it could become. Jim will bring speed of decision-making. The world in which we are operating in today is very different from even three years ago.” Hackett was the CEO of Steelcase for over 20 years. He joined Ford's board of directors in 2013 and became the chairman of its Smart Mobility division in 2016. Hackett also worked as the interim athletic director of the University of Michigan from 2014-2016. “I am so excited to work with Bill Ford and the entire team to create an even more dynamic and vibrant Ford that improves people’s lives around the world, and creates value for all of our stakeholders. I have developed a deep appreciation for Ford’s people, values and heritage during the past four years as part of the company and look forward to working together with everyone tied to Ford during this transformative period,” said Hackett in a statement. Ford has also announced other management changes, Jim Farley, currently executive vice president and president, Ford of Europe, Middle East and Africa since January 2015 will become Ford's executive vice president and president, Global Markets. Joe Hinrichs, Ford's executive vice president and president for the Americas will move up to executive vice president and president, Global Operations. Marcy Klevorn, Ford's CTO will become executive vice president and president, Mobility. Source: Forbes, New York Times, (2), The Detroit News Press Release is on Page 2 FORD APPOINTS JIM HACKETT AS CEO TO STRENGTHEN OPERATIONS, TRANSFORM FOR FUTURE; FARLEY, HINRICHS, KLEVORN TAKE ON NEW ROLES Jim Hackett named as Ford Motor Company president and CEO, succeeding Mark Fields, who is retiring. Hackett, who will report to Executive Chairman Bill Ford, is recognized as a transformational business leader Hackett led Steelcase Inc.’s turnaround to become the world’s No. 1 office furniture maker, served as interim Athletic Director at University of Michigan and has led Ford Smart Mobility LLC since March 2016. He served on Ford’s board from 2013 to 2016 Hackett, together with Bill Ford, will focus on three priorities: Sharpening operational execution, modernizing Ford’s present business and transforming the company to meet tomorrow’s challenges Ford also named leaders to three new roles under Hackett. Jim Farley is appointed executive vice president and president, Global Markets, Joe Hinrichs is appointed executive vice president and president, Global Operations, and Marcy Klevorn is appointed executive vice president and president, Mobility Mark Truby is appointed vice president, Communications, and elected a company officer. He succeeds Ray Day, who plans to retire from the company next year and will provide consulting services until then Paul Ballew is appointed vice president and Chief Data and Analytics Officer DEARBORN, May 22, 2017 – Ford Motor Company today named Jim Hackett as its new president and CEO and announced key global leadership changes designed to further strengthen its core automotive business and accelerate a strategic shift to capitalize on emerging opportunities. Hackett, 62, has a long track record of innovation and business success as CEO of Steelcase, Interim Athletic Director at the University of Michigan and executive chairman of Ford Smart Mobility LLC since March 2016. Reporting to Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Hackett will lead Ford’s worldwide operations and 202,000 employees globally. He succeeds Mark Fields, 56, who has elected to retire from Ford after a successful 28-year career with the company. “We’re moving from a position of strength to transform Ford for the future,” Bill Ford said. “Jim Hackett is the right CEO to lead Ford during this transformative period for the auto industry and the broader mobility space. He’s a true visionary who brings a unique, human-centered leadership approach to our culture, products and services that will unlock the potential of our people and our business.” Added Hackett: “I am so excited to work with Bill Ford and the entire team to create an even more dynamic and vibrant Ford that improves people’s lives around the world, and creates value for all of our stakeholders. I have developed a deep appreciation for Ford’s people, values and heritage during the past four years as part of the company and look forward to working together with everyone tied to Ford during this transformative period.” Hackett, together with Bill Ford, will focus on three priorities: Sharpening operational execution across the global business to further enhance quality, go-to-market strategy; product launch, while decisively addressing underperforming parts of the business Modernizing Ford’s business, using new tools and techniques to unleash innovation, speed decision making and improve efficiency. This includes increasingly leveraging big data, artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, 3D printing and more Transforming the company to meet future challenges, ensuring the company has the right culture, talent, strategic processes and nimbleness to succeed as society’s needs and consumer behavior change over time Bill Ford and Ford’s Board of Directors thanked Fields for his significant contributions to the company. “Mark Fields has been an outstanding leader and deserves a lot of credit for all he has accomplished in his many roles around the globe at Ford," Bill Ford said. “His strong leadership was critical to our North American restructuring, our turnaround at the end of the last decade, and our record profits in the past two years." Also today, Ford announced a new structure for its operations and named three new leaders reporting to Hackett: Jim Farley, 54, is appointed executive vice president and president, Global Markets. In this role, Farley will oversee Ford’s business units, The Americas; Europe, Middle East & Africa and Asia Pacific. In addition, Farley will oversee Lincoln Motor Company and global Marketing Sales & Service. Farley has served as executive vice president and president, Ford of Europe, Middle East and Africa since January 2015. Farley will also oversee the strategy and business model development for electrified vehicles and autonomous vehicles. Joe Hinrichs, 50, is appointed executive vice president and president, Global Operations. In this role, Hinrichs will oversee Ford’s global Product Development; Manufacturing and Labor Affairs; Quality; Purchasing; and Sustainability, Environmental and Safety Engineering; Hinrichs has been serving as Ford executive vice president and president, The Americas, since December 2012. Marcy Klevorn, 57, is appointed executive vice president and president, Mobility. In this role, Klevorn will oversee Ford Smart Mobility LLC, which was formed last year to accelerate the company’s plans to design, build, grow and invest in emerging mobility services, as well as Information Technology and Global Data, Insight and Analytics. Klevorn has served as group vice president, Information Technology and Chief Information Officer since January 2017. All three appointments are effective June 1. New leaders to succeed Hinrichs, Farley and Klevorn will be the subject of a future announcement. “We are fortunate to have three dynamic and talented leaders in Jim Farley, Joe Hinrichs and Marcy Klevorn taking on greater responsibility,” Bill Ford said. “Each has a track record of driving innovation, cost efficiency and delivering results around the world. They will work closely with Jim Hackett to lead Ford’s day-to-day operations, build our brand and capitalize on emerging opportunities.” In addition, Ford appointed Mark Truby, 47, vice president, Communications, effective immediately, reporting to Bill Ford. He was elected a company officer. Truby has previously led Ford’s Communications teams in Asia Pacific and Europe, Middle East & Africa. Truby succeeds Ray Day, who plans to retire from the company next year and will provide consulting services until then. Ford also elected Paul Ballew, 52, as Global Chief Data and Analytics Officer, reporting to Klevorn. Ballew has been leading Ford’s global data and analytics teams since December 2014, including development of new capabilities supporting connectivity and smart mobility. View full article
  20. William Maley

    Mark Fields Is Out As Ford CEO

    This morning, Ford announced that current CEO Mark Fields will be stepping down as CEO. Taking his place is Jim Hackett, former CEO of Steelcase (an office furniture manufacturer) and chairman of Ford's self-driving unit. “Mark Fields has been an outstanding leader and deserves a lot of credit for all he has accomplished in his many roles around the globe at Ford. His strong leadership was critical to our North American restructuring, our turnaround at the end of the last decade, and our record profits in the past two years," said Bill Ford in a statement. The news was first broke by Forbes last night and later corroborated by the New York Times last night. According to unnamed sources, Ford's Executive Chairman Bill Ford and the board of directors lost confidence in Fields' ability to lead the company as he was unable to rally employees around a common theme or make fast decisions. His predecessor, Alan Mullaly was very good at those things. “Without Alan, it’s back to the inmates running the asylum,” a source told Forbes. Not helping matters is Ford's stock price dropping 40 percent during Fields' three-year tenure. The New York Times reports that the decision to remove Fields as CEO took place on Friday with The Detroit News reporting that Bill Ford delivering the news to Fields after a board meeting. “We need to re-energize our business and sharpen our execution. The good news is we have the financial resources and the talent to get it done. But what we needed is a transformative leader who has done it before. And who not only has the vision, but also knows how to get the organization to move toward that vision," Ford said in an interview with The Detroit News. “Jim has done this before. And he’s done it at an industrial company. And he’s done it at a company where he redefined it from what it was to what it could become. Jim will bring speed of decision-making. The world in which we are operating in today is very different from even three years ago.” Hackett was the CEO of Steelcase for over 20 years. He joined Ford's board of directors in 2013 and became the chairman of its Smart Mobility division in 2016. Hackett also worked as the interim athletic director of the University of Michigan from 2014-2016. “I am so excited to work with Bill Ford and the entire team to create an even more dynamic and vibrant Ford that improves people’s lives around the world, and creates value for all of our stakeholders. I have developed a deep appreciation for Ford’s people, values and heritage during the past four years as part of the company and look forward to working together with everyone tied to Ford during this transformative period,” said Hackett in a statement. Ford has also announced other management changes, Jim Farley, currently executive vice president and president, Ford of Europe, Middle East and Africa since January 2015 will become Ford's executive vice president and president, Global Markets. Joe Hinrichs, Ford's executive vice president and president for the Americas will move up to executive vice president and president, Global Operations. Marcy Klevorn, Ford's CTO will become executive vice president and president, Mobility. Source: Forbes, New York Times, (2), The Detroit News Press Release is on Page 2 FORD APPOINTS JIM HACKETT AS CEO TO STRENGTHEN OPERATIONS, TRANSFORM FOR FUTURE; FARLEY, HINRICHS, KLEVORN TAKE ON NEW ROLES Jim Hackett named as Ford Motor Company president and CEO, succeeding Mark Fields, who is retiring. Hackett, who will report to Executive Chairman Bill Ford, is recognized as a transformational business leader Hackett led Steelcase Inc.’s turnaround to become the world’s No. 1 office furniture maker, served as interim Athletic Director at University of Michigan and has led Ford Smart Mobility LLC since March 2016. He served on Ford’s board from 2013 to 2016 Hackett, together with Bill Ford, will focus on three priorities: Sharpening operational execution, modernizing Ford’s present business and transforming the company to meet tomorrow’s challenges Ford also named leaders to three new roles under Hackett. Jim Farley is appointed executive vice president and president, Global Markets, Joe Hinrichs is appointed executive vice president and president, Global Operations, and Marcy Klevorn is appointed executive vice president and president, Mobility Mark Truby is appointed vice president, Communications, and elected a company officer. He succeeds Ray Day, who plans to retire from the company next year and will provide consulting services until then Paul Ballew is appointed vice president and Chief Data and Analytics Officer DEARBORN, May 22, 2017 – Ford Motor Company today named Jim Hackett as its new president and CEO and announced key global leadership changes designed to further strengthen its core automotive business and accelerate a strategic shift to capitalize on emerging opportunities. Hackett, 62, has a long track record of innovation and business success as CEO of Steelcase, Interim Athletic Director at the University of Michigan and executive chairman of Ford Smart Mobility LLC since March 2016. Reporting to Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Hackett will lead Ford’s worldwide operations and 202,000 employees globally. He succeeds Mark Fields, 56, who has elected to retire from Ford after a successful 28-year career with the company. “We’re moving from a position of strength to transform Ford for the future,” Bill Ford said. “Jim Hackett is the right CEO to lead Ford during this transformative period for the auto industry and the broader mobility space. He’s a true visionary who brings a unique, human-centered leadership approach to our culture, products and services that will unlock the potential of our people and our business.” Added Hackett: “I am so excited to work with Bill Ford and the entire team to create an even more dynamic and vibrant Ford that improves people’s lives around the world, and creates value for all of our stakeholders. I have developed a deep appreciation for Ford’s people, values and heritage during the past four years as part of the company and look forward to working together with everyone tied to Ford during this transformative period.” Hackett, together with Bill Ford, will focus on three priorities: Sharpening operational execution across the global business to further enhance quality, go-to-market strategy; product launch, while decisively addressing underperforming parts of the business Modernizing Ford’s business, using new tools and techniques to unleash innovation, speed decision making and improve efficiency. This includes increasingly leveraging big data, artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, 3D printing and more Transforming the company to meet future challenges, ensuring the company has the right culture, talent, strategic processes and nimbleness to succeed as society’s needs and consumer behavior change over time Bill Ford and Ford’s Board of Directors thanked Fields for his significant contributions to the company. “Mark Fields has been an outstanding leader and deserves a lot of credit for all he has accomplished in his many roles around the globe at Ford," Bill Ford said. “His strong leadership was critical to our North American restructuring, our turnaround at the end of the last decade, and our record profits in the past two years." Also today, Ford announced a new structure for its operations and named three new leaders reporting to Hackett: Jim Farley, 54, is appointed executive vice president and president, Global Markets. In this role, Farley will oversee Ford’s business units, The Americas; Europe, Middle East & Africa and Asia Pacific. In addition, Farley will oversee Lincoln Motor Company and global Marketing Sales & Service. Farley has served as executive vice president and president, Ford of Europe, Middle East and Africa since January 2015. Farley will also oversee the strategy and business model development for electrified vehicles and autonomous vehicles. Joe Hinrichs, 50, is appointed executive vice president and president, Global Operations. In this role, Hinrichs will oversee Ford’s global Product Development; Manufacturing and Labor Affairs; Quality; Purchasing; and Sustainability, Environmental and Safety Engineering; Hinrichs has been serving as Ford executive vice president and president, The Americas, since December 2012. Marcy Klevorn, 57, is appointed executive vice president and president, Mobility. In this role, Klevorn will oversee Ford Smart Mobility LLC, which was formed last year to accelerate the company’s plans to design, build, grow and invest in emerging mobility services, as well as Information Technology and Global Data, Insight and Analytics. Klevorn has served as group vice president, Information Technology and Chief Information Officer since January 2017. All three appointments are effective June 1. New leaders to succeed Hinrichs, Farley and Klevorn will be the subject of a future announcement. “We are fortunate to have three dynamic and talented leaders in Jim Farley, Joe Hinrichs and Marcy Klevorn taking on greater responsibility,” Bill Ford said. “Each has a track record of driving innovation, cost efficiency and delivering results around the world. They will work closely with Jim Hackett to lead Ford’s day-to-day operations, build our brand and capitalize on emerging opportunities.” In addition, Ford appointed Mark Truby, 47, vice president, Communications, effective immediately, reporting to Bill Ford. He was elected a company officer. Truby has previously led Ford’s Communications teams in Asia Pacific and Europe, Middle East & Africa. Truby succeeds Ray Day, who plans to retire from the company next year and will provide consulting services until then. Ford also elected Paul Ballew, 52, as Global Chief Data and Analytics Officer, reporting to Klevorn. Ballew has been leading Ford’s global data and analytics teams since December 2014, including development of new capabilities supporting connectivity and smart mobility.
  21. If it weren't for focus groups, the design of the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox could have looked so much different. Speaking to Automotive News, chief engineer of the 2018 Equinox Mark Cieslak revealed that focus groups weren't not impressed with the first designs of the redesigned model. They described the design as being bulky, 'not compelling', and looking a bit odd. If this was old GM, they would have gone forward with the design. "Back in the day, we would have probably just kept going," said Cieslak. "What we had on paper we felt was not going to win." But this being the new GM where bean counters lost a fair amount of influence, the decision was made to go back to the drawing board. At the time, GM was scrambling to fix the Malibu as its redesign earned poor reviews and a drop in sales which likely played a part in this decision. They needed to get the Equinox redesign right as the model it would replace was very popular. There were concerns that this could cause the new Equinox to be delayed. But in the end, the team were able to design a new Equinox without falling off schedule. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  22. If it weren't for focus groups, the design of the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox could have looked so much different. Speaking to Automotive News, chief engineer of the 2018 Equinox Mark Cieslak revealed that focus groups weren't not impressed with the first designs of the redesigned model. They described the design as being bulky, 'not compelling', and looking a bit odd. If this was old GM, they would have gone forward with the design. "Back in the day, we would have probably just kept going," said Cieslak. "What we had on paper we felt was not going to win." But this being the new GM where bean counters lost a fair amount of influence, the decision was made to go back to the drawing board. At the time, GM was scrambling to fix the Malibu as its redesign earned poor reviews and a drop in sales which likely played a part in this decision. They needed to get the Equinox redesign right as the model it would replace was very popular. There were concerns that this could cause the new Equinox to be delayed. But in the end, the team were able to design a new Equinox without falling off schedule. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  23. More and more police departments are going towards crossovers and SUVs for their fleets. According to Automotive News Canada, police departments are going with these vehicles over their sedan counterparts as they are able to fit all of their equipment needed on a daily basis. Officers like them as crossovers and SUVs are easier to get in and out. “We’re all dealing with the same issue, and that is the vehicles are getting smaller, yet there’s still demand for more gadgets and equipment put into those cars. It’s always a bit of a tradeoff and a challenge to make it all fit,” Julie Furlotte, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's national mobile assets manager. The RCMP's current fleet is made up of around 1,200 to 1,300 police package sedans and 1,600 police package utility vehicles. There is also another plus point for utility vehicles, durability. “I’m hearing from my customers anyway that when they look at the sedan versus the SUVs, the SUVs are a little bit more expensive (but) they actually get better durability out of them,” said GM Canada’s manager of fleet marketing and government sales. There is the question of the performance gap. Pursuit vehicles are mostly sedans as they offer better than their utility counterparts. But that is changing. Sgt. Michael McCarthy of the Michigan State Police (MSP) precision-driving team - they're the group behind the annual test of pursuit-rated vehicles - says the performance gap is shrinking. “LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) are buying a larger percentage of SUVs than they are of the sedans. They are very capable. They have a fairly short turning radius. They’re deceptively fast.” Source: Automotive News Canada (Subscription Required) View full article
  24. More and more police departments are going towards crossovers and SUVs for their fleets. According to Automotive News Canada, police departments are going with these vehicles over their sedan counterparts as they are able to fit all of their equipment needed on a daily basis. Officers like them as crossovers and SUVs are easier to get in and out. “We’re all dealing with the same issue, and that is the vehicles are getting smaller, yet there’s still demand for more gadgets and equipment put into those cars. It’s always a bit of a tradeoff and a challenge to make it all fit,” Julie Furlotte, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's national mobile assets manager. The RCMP's current fleet is made up of around 1,200 to 1,300 police package sedans and 1,600 police package utility vehicles. There is also another plus point for utility vehicles, durability. “I’m hearing from my customers anyway that when they look at the sedan versus the SUVs, the SUVs are a little bit more expensive (but) they actually get better durability out of them,” said GM Canada’s manager of fleet marketing and government sales. There is the question of the performance gap. Pursuit vehicles are mostly sedans as they offer better than their utility counterparts. But that is changing. Sgt. Michael McCarthy of the Michigan State Police (MSP) precision-driving team - they're the group behind the annual test of pursuit-rated vehicles - says the performance gap is shrinking. “LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) are buying a larger percentage of SUVs than they are of the sedans. They are very capable. They have a fairly short turning radius. They’re deceptively fast.” Source: Automotive News Canada (Subscription Required)
  25. Another leadership shake-up at Alfa Romeo and Maserati has taken place. Today, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced Reid Bigland will take over from Harald Wester as the CEO for the two brands. Wester will remain as FCA's chief technology officer, and Bigland will continue as the head of U.S. and Canadian sales. "I am thankful for the work Harald has carried out in the last few years establishing a sound technical framework for our two premium brands and which has culminated in the recent launch of the Maserati Levante and the Alfa Romeo Giulia" said FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne in a statement. "It is time now for our efforts to be directed towards the global commercial expansion of these two brands, and I can think of no one better than Reid to fulfill that mission.” Bigland inherits what can be described as a 'comedy of errors'. The relaunch of Alfa Romeo is considerably over budget according to supplier sources to Automotive News. Meanwhile, countless delays have pushed back the launch of the Giulia (on sale at the end this month for Europe, fall for the U.S.) and Alfa's first SUV - the Stelvio - has been pushed back to early next year. Originally, Alfa Romeo was supposed to have eight models by 2018. This has been pushed back to 2020. Maserati isn't faring much better with profits falling and a lineup that is aging. The Levante SUV has been plagued by delays. European sales only began this month, with U.S. sales starting in October. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Press Release is on Page 2 FCA Announces Leadership Changes Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU / MTA: FCA) announces the following leadership changes with immediate effect: Reid Bigland is named as the Chief Executive of the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands. Reid has held a number of Sales and Brand Leadership positions within FCA, and is currently the Head of US Sales and the Chief Executive of FCA Canada, positions that he will continue to hold. Harald Wester, who has led the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands until now, will be able to devote his full attention to the role of Chief Technology Officer for FCA, a role which he held while developing the technical basis for the Maserati and Alfa Romeo products and brands, and which have now achieved a high level of maturity. “I am thankful for the work Harald has carried out in the last few years establishing a sound technical framework for our two premium brands and which has culminated in the recent launch of the Maserati Levante and the Alfa Romeo Giulia. It is time now for our efforts to be directed towards the global commercial expansion of these two brands, and I can think of no one better than Reid to fulfill that mission. Reid has an extraordinary record of growing sales and market share in the US and Canada over the last 7 years at FCA, including leading the growth and positioning of the Ram and Dodge brands for part of that time.” added Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer of FCA. Reid Bigland and Harald Wester will continue to serve on the Group Executive Council (GEC). The Group Executive Council is the highest management body in FCA, and is chaired by the Chief Executive and is comprised of the senior functional and operating heads of the global organization. View full article

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