By Chris Haak
Although Tesla just got its start a few short years ago, and in fact has only just reached the 1,000-unit milestone in Roadster production, the company filed for an IPO yesterday and – as is required in such a filing – spilled the beans on several financial details and future plans that had not been public knowledge to this point.
Tesla reported in its IPO filing that it lost $31.5 million during the first nine months of 2009, which is an improvement over the $57.3 million that it lost during the same period in 2008. Revenue shot up from $580,000 in the first three quarters of 2008 to $93.4 million during the same period in 2009.
By Brendan Moore
Yes, Ed Whitacre pulled a Dick Cheney yesterday.
You will recall that when G.W. Bush asked Dick Cheney to find a vice-president for his administration, Cheney looked around and decided that Dick Cheney was the best choice.
Whitacre says that the General Motors board offered him the position, and, shucks, he was hardly ever thinking about being CEO to begin with, but that’s what the board wanted. So, he pretty much had to take the job.
Regardless of how it happened, it happened, and now Whitacre is leading GM as both chairman and CEO. He said in his press conference yesterday that he intends to keep both titles as long as he is at GM.
Apparently the board is unconcerned about the accountability issues from a corporate governance perspective that might rear their heads with Whitacre owning both titles. Many auto industry analysts feel that the board was keen to minimize any further disruptions to the GM management team, and thus Whitacre became the easy choice since he was already in the position as interim CEO.
Whitacre opined yesterday during the press conference that, “This place needs some stability. I guess that’s me.”
Whitacre is GM’s third CEO in only ten months.
Our writer’s final observations of his trip to the Detroit Auto Show this year.
By J. Smith
Unfortunately, most of the guys at the auto show are some combination of middle-aged or older, overweight, bald and not altogether attractive. There were, however, some exceptions.
By Chris Haak
With the 2010 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in our rear-view mirror, let’s take a look at some of the vehicles deserving of kudos. Also, in spite of what the seventh-place ribbon you won at field day in sixth grade, not everyone can be a winner all the time, so we’ll also look into some models that need a kick. Some vehicles might fall into both categories simultaneously. Let’s begin.
KUDO to Volkswagen’s New Concept Coupe (NCC), which showcased an attractive design direction for VW’s bread-and-butter Jetta in the US. The NCC also added a first-for-VW hybrid drivetrain. Could the maker of diesel vehicles change its tune in the US market and offer hybrids instead of (or in addition to) diesels toward its goal of doubling US sales in the next three years? Subaru outsold VW in the US last year, and Subaru proudly embraces its niche brand status. It seems that the largest European automaker may not be quite aware of its own place in the US.
By Brendan Moore
Smart USA has announced that Jill Lajdziak, former head of Saturn, has been appointed to the president’s job at Smart. The move comes three days after Lajdziak joined the company as an employee, ostensibly as their Vice President of Marketing and Sales.
The 53 year-old Lajdziak replaces Dave Schembri, who is taking an as-yet unidentified position with Penske Automotive Group, the company that owns Smart USA, and is the parent corporation of the Penske retail dealership empire, the second-largest dealer group in the United States.
The news was not expected; but now that Lajdziak is in the position, one must believe that her ascension to the position was in the works all along.
Roger Penske, the hard-driving fellow that runs the Penske conglomerate, had this to say: “As we look to enhance the position of the Smart brand, Jill’s background and experience will help us reinvigorate the dealer network and bring a greater awareness to the smart brand.”