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February 23, 2016 FacebookTwitterFlickrRSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
Inside this issue
Volkswagen Chief Matthias Müller Takes Aim at Auto Makerís Culture
CEO's Revamp of Fiat Chrysler Makes it a Merger Target
Car-Sharing Impact Will Be Limited, Despite a Jump in Shared Mobility Start-Ups, BCG Says
Ford to Triple Investment in Self-Driving Tech
Honda Names New R&D, N.A. Bosses in Management Shuffle
Rolls-Royce to Replace Phantom After 13-Year Production Run
Top Stories
Volkswagen Chief Matthias Müller Takes Aim at Auto Makerís Culture

VW CEO pursues new start by recruiting from rivals, shedding imperial trappings

Soon after Matthias Müller took the helm at Volkswagen AG in the wake of its emissions-cheating scandal, he walked into a factory here to address 20,000 workers gathered before a makeshift stage carpeted in the company’s trademark silver color. “I’d like to rip this carpet out,” he barked, according to two people present. The new chief executive didn’t want to be treated like royalty, he said, because Volkswagen managers are businessmen, not rock stars. When Mr. Müller in September promised to change Volkswagen’s culture, many observers expected just business as usual. But he has surprised company veterans and outsiders by starting to dismantle an unyielding hierarchy that critics say laid the seeds of the emissions scandal rocking the company.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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CEO's Revamp of Fiat Chrysler Makes it a Merger Target

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s latest reimagining of the company he created could be the highlight of his career.

Just last month, Fiat Chrysler Automotive had a spotty product line, an uncertain future and few prospects of attracting a strong partner. Today, it’s a candidate for merger or acquisition by a number of automakers. Now it's a question of whether Marchionne played his cards right. Marchionne reshaped and refocused Fiat Chrysler’s product plan Jan. 27 to weed out unprofitable brands and car lines. Marchionne announced he would stop building compact and midsize cars — a sector where the company hasn't been succeeding — and focus on Chrysler’s strengths and Fiat’s potential assets. Bye-bye, Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart. Hello, Ram Power Wagon, Jeep Grand Wagoneer and more. While the plan could transform Fiat Chrysler into a plum many automakers could covet as a money maker and door to the U.S. market for a foreign automaker, there's still a lot more that needs to be done.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Car-Sharing Impact Will Be Limited, Despite a Jump in Shared Mobility Start-Ups, BCG Says

As automakers make forays into the car-share business with their own start-ups, a new study says the car-share industry will have a limited impact on vehicle sales in any case. The study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) predicts that car-sharing will cost the industry just 550,000 vehicle sales worldwide in 2021, a year in which global auto sales are expected to approach 100 million vehicles. Those lost sales could total $8.2 billion, according to the study.
Source: CNBC

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Ford to Triple Investment in Self-Driving Tech

Ford revealed its refreshed Kuga crossover, and talked about automaker's committment to mobility and connectivity at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

Ford CEO Mark Fields said [Monday] the automaker plans to triple its engineering investment in driver assist and semi-autonomous vehicle technology over the next five years and unveiled an updated version of the Ford Kuga, a compact crossover sold in Europe. Fields made the announcement at Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona, Spain — an annual technology conference. He did not specify a dollar figure or say where the increase in the engineering resources would be centered. Fields said Ford's goal is to stay true to its heritage as an automaker that builds cars for the masses and develop an affordable self-driving vehicle. "When the first Ford autonomous vehicle comes out, it will be an autonomous vehicle designed to serve millions of customers — not just for those who buy luxury vehicles," Fields said.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Honda Names New R&D, N.A. Bosses in Management Shuffle

Honda Motor Co. President Takahiro Hachigo, less than a year in office and still battling quality problems, has shuffled the company's top management to bring in a new r&d chief, a new executive in charge of North America and a new automotive boss. Taking charge of North America will be Toshiaki Mikoshiba, who formerly headed Honda’s European operations. The sweeping changes clear the top ranks of some prominent older-generation executives who served under Hachigo’s predecessor, Takanobu Ito. The overhaul must still be approved at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in June.
Source: Automotive News

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Rolls-Royce to Replace Phantom After 13-Year Production Run

Rolls-Royce is replacing the 350,900-euro ($386,000) Phantom limousine, the brand’s first model built under BMW AG’sownership, after a 13-year run as the maker of ultra-luxury cars switches to building vehicles with lighter aluminum frames. The eighth generation of the Phantom will debut in 2018, while the coupe and drophead coupe variants won’t be renewed, the U.K. manufacturer said Tuesday in a statement. A special collectors’ range of 50 cars, dubbed the Phantom Zenith, will mark the end of the coupe versions this year and feature a special tailgate with seats for country picnics. The new model will be a “contemporary and beautiful Phantom enhanced with cutting-edge technologies and design innovations,” Rolls-Royce Chief Executive Officer Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes said in the statement.
Source: Bloomberg

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Quotable
"The difference is like night and day. We all realize that the crisis gives us a huge opportunity to change the company."

   --- Andreas Renschler, the board member running Volkswagen’s truck business, on how the automaker is learning from its emissions scandal and changing its culture, The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 23


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