A sign of respect: One of your fiercest competitors saluting you as you retire. Dr. Z stepped down as chairman after leading Daimler’s separation from Chrysler in 2007 and winning back the title of world’s top-selling premium brand from BMW in 2016. BMW, in a video featuring a Zetsche look-alike, said, “Thank you … for so many years of inspiring competition.”
The Nissan lifer made it to the top, only to be swept up and eventually out by turmoil stemming from Carlos Ghosn’s arrest over allegations of corporate misconduct. Saikawa, a Ghosn protege who at times clashed with his mentor, was deemed to have too much baggage and was forced to resign as CEO.
Times are changing. The Detroit show, a longtime January tradition, is looking to restore the mojo that’s eroded in recent years by moving to June in 2020. Will warmer weather, outdoor exhibit space and a distancing from the CES tech expo help bring back auto brands that opted to skip the show? We shall see.
Ford and FCA US followed General Motors in abandoning monthly U.S. sales reports in favor of quarterly updates. Tesla has never issued monthly figures. The import brands are sticking with monthly reporting — for now.
With the light-truck share of the U.S. market topping 70 percent, cars stopped making business sense for many brands. Ford and GM retired big chunks of their car lineups, the Smart microcar brand is hanging it up in the U.S., and other brands killed slow-selling mainstream and niche models — less competition for companies such as Honda and Toyota that will gladly court sedan buyers.
He came. He saw. He left after four months. AutoNation’s Mike Jackson brought in an outsider with expertise in supply chain logistics and digital platforms to succeed him as CEO. Turns out Liebert, in Jackson’s words, “wasn’t a good fit.” Liebert walked away with $3.75 million in severance — not bad for a few months’ work.
The ongoing federal investigation has yielded charges against more than a dozen people tied to the union. Gary Jones, who has been implicated but not charged, resigned as president last month. Vance Pearson, a regional director, left the union last month after being charged in September and has appeared in federal court without entering a plea.
Krüger appeared ready to guide BMW into a future of electric, self-driving and shared automobiles when he was appointed CEO in 2015. It was almost a year before he presented his strategic vision for the electric age — which was a bust. He resigned two weeks before his contract came up for renewal.
So long, SoHo. Cadillac moved its headquarters to suburban Detroit after the luxury brand in 2014 headed to trendy digs in Manhattan in an effort to infuse itself with sophistication. It didn’t do much to revive sales. Welcome home.
Johnson, who retired as print editor, had a 35-year career with Automotive News that took him across the globe covering some of the industry’s biggest stories and personalities. His influence lives on in our pages.