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Who would you name as Automotive Person of the Year for 2011?

SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
Time Magazine will name their Person of the Year on Dec. 16, 2009.

Who would you name as your Car Person of the Year for 2009?


  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    Alan Mulally, President of Ford
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,246
    Alan Mulally, President of Ford

    Agreed. Mulally is the only US auto exec who has a clue about the business.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Well, there was one guy who went in and cleaned house in Detroit a lot.

    Barry something or other.... :)
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,192
    Obama was my thought as well. Tim's MOY award is not necessarily for somebody who was good vs. bad, just who made the most impact. I also think Mulally is a good choice, but I'd have to say Barry. WIthout the continuation of the bailouts, GM would have failed eventually with Wagoner at the helm. GM has a chance but the UAW is still there and might have gone away with a more "natural" failure. So like it or not, Barry's decision to not allow a US manufacturer of the size of GM to fail completely shaped the entire auto landscape for this and many years to come.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,744
    i'm picking Mulally because he is actually involved in making the decisions that are shaping the future of the corporation.
    POTUS Obama's influence is by proxy. He is primarily focused on other issues, as he should be IMO.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • Allan Mulally, hands down.. Who else :confuse:
  • With his bright smile, open face and lick of light brown hair, Alan Mulally looks like an overgrown boy scout. If Richie Cunningham of Happy Days had never met the Fonz and gone straight into business, he might have turned out like Mulally. “Gee, Dominic, that’s a kinda neat way to ask that question,” he chirps at one point during our interview.

    Don’t be fooled. Mulally may look and sound preppie, but he is a killer preppie. He starts his day at 5.15am, is “relentless”, according to associates, and has let people go for chatting at the back during his weekly management meetings. He is nice, very nice, but it’s a nice I wouldn’t want to get the wrong side of. Mulally’s driven nature helped to save Ford — it was the only one of the big three Detroit carmakers not to go into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this year — and has won him the crown of Sunday Times Business Person of the Year.

    The 64-year-old, an aeronautical engineer by training, is too smart to claim Ford, the world’s fourth-biggest car group, is safe just yet. It made a $1 billion profit in the third quarter of the year, a towering achievement in a cut-throat industry struggling with a recession-driven slump in sales. “None of us is really out of the woods,” he said. “But we have a good fundamental business that will get stronger as the economy starts to grow.”

    Ford avoided the great Detroit car crash of 2009, but now has to fight rivals that were kept alive with government money. Isn’t Mulally riled that both his Detroit rivals were bailed out by the taxpayer?

    “No, I’m not. The advantages of not going through bankruptcy far outweigh the advantages of going through it. These guys [GM and Chrysler] are going to have to slow down their investment in new products, and customers care about products.

    “They were failed enterprises. Just think about everyone that got wiped out in Chapter 11 — the shareholders and the bondholders. In there are the same banks that we borrow money from today and, because we honoured our commitments, we couldn’t have a better relationship with them.”

    To understand the nature of Mulally’s achievement, you have to go back three years to his appointment. Ford was floundering, on its way to a $12.6 billion loss for the year. Its bonds were reduced to junk status by credit-rating agencies, and most analysts and commentators thought it would be the first of Detroit’s big three to fail. It was caught in the jaws of a vice; aggressive low-cost competition from Japanese and other Asian carmakers on one side and on the other the ever-mounting costs of generous pension and healthcare plans set up in the days when carmaking in America was a licence to print money.

    For a group known for dash and vision throughout its 106-year history — the perfection of mass production, founder Henry Ford’s plan to put the world on wheels — it seemed paralysed by its burdens. Bill Ford Jr, a scion of the founding and still-controlling family, had been made chief executive as well as chairman, the first family member in a generation to hold the top executive job.

    Under the previous boss, Jac Nasser, Ford had gone on a spending spree, adding to its stable of international brands. With the fat profits made from selling pick-ups and light trucks to affluent American customers in 1990s, Ford built up a portfolio that included Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin, Volvo and Mazda. But then American profits dried up, and Ford was sinking. Bill Ford was smart enough to realise he needed help, and went looking for it.

    Mulally was an unlikely appointment. He was a Boeing man through and through, having worked at the planemaker for 38 years. His big achievement was as the chief architect of the Boeing 777, the first of the big twin-engined airliners that have come to dominate long-haul routes. He was made boss of Boeing’s commercial aircraft division in 1998, but later missed out on the chief executive’s job.

    Recruiting an outsider was a bold stroke for Ford. The accepted wisdom in Detroit was that you had to be a “car guy” to run one of the big three and, at Ford, that you had to come up through the rigours of the company system. Mulally had neither distinction.

    It didn’t take him long to start shaking things up. The profusion of marques — and a profusion of management fiefdoms — were his first targets.

    “I did a lot of due diligence before I arrived, and I clarified that after I got here,” said Mulally. “Ford had moved from the blue oval to being a house of brands. And we had really strong operations round the world, Ford in Europe, China, Australia — but they all operated autonomously. So here was the world’s 17th largest company, and it was operating as a group of regional outfits with no global scale, even though it was competing against the best global companies.”

    Greater centralisation was the order of the day — and a sell-off of some of the most famous names in the car industry. Aston Martin went to the Kuwaitis. Jaguar Land Rover to the Indians (Tata Motors paid £1.35 billion, which looked cheap until sales of luxury cars fell off a cliff in the autumn of last year). Volvo is heading for China. Last week Ford said it had reached an outline deal to the sell the Swedish carmaker to Geely, a Chinese carmaker, with the handover expected to take place in the second quarter of next year.
    [.....] .ece
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Actually Richie did ditch the Fonz and go into business. Since the 80's he's made some of the best movies of the last 30 yrs.
    ********************************************************************************- **
    From his quote about the bailouts..
    “No, I’m not. The advantages of not going through bankruptcy far outweigh the advantages of going through it [ for the Ford family ]. These guys [GM and Chrysler] are going to have to slow down their investment in new products, and customers care about products.

    In Ford-speak this means that in BK the Ford family would have lost control of the source of their wealth so BK was never really an option.

    I'd give it to Mulally also because he made all the moves that the Ford family needed to have done in the crisis. However for sheer positive impact on the nation the Executive Branch probably deserves more credit.

    No one ever considered that two of the worst run and unhealthiest industrial icons of the last several generations could be resurrected from the dead in under 6 months. Chrysler may still be on life support but GM, far larger, is in rehab and looking to get back into the game. In a year or two Chrysler might, and maybe should, disappear but the nation will be much stronger and it won't be going under at the same time as GM....probably.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Mulally is the "obvious" choice; but without Obama, GM and Chrysler would be dead and buried.

    They still may die, but until that happens, I'd have to go with Obama.

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    Virg Bernero the Mayor of Lansing, Michigan was the poster boy for the automotive bailouts and gained tons of media attention from Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, etc....He is my pic!!! Honorable Mentions would be Richard G. Wagoner former CEO of GM, for putting GM on the right path despite being fully blamed for GM's failure. I'd also put as a honorable mention Bob Lutz because of his consistent passion of putting out good products at GM, since he took over. ;)

  • delthekingdeltheking Posts: 1,152
    Why not Akio Toyoda?? ;) Toyota is is a mess now and if he gets to the US for the hearing and if he gets Toyota out of this mess!!
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMPosts: 7,615
    but right now that's a lotta if's!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,192
    Rocky! -- Can't believe you are still defending Wagoner! GM is finally starting to move in the right direction now that management has changed. Wagoner drove them into the gutter! As a GM supporter I would have thought you would be happy to see him go.... :confuse:
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    Wagoner had approved the product launches well before he was canned and they were headed in the right direction before the economic crash hit!!! Wagoner is responsible for changing GM around and putting them on the right path not this recent crop of executives. However saying that this new CEO has my vote of confidence and will hold everyone in the company responsible which is a good thing.

  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    kdhspyder: No one ever considered that two of the worst run and unhealthiest industrial icons of the last several generations could be resurrected from the dead in under 6 months.

    "Resurrected" would imply that would imply that these companies are viable on their own, and nothing I've seen indicates that either GM or Chrysler is yet truly a viable firm.

    GM, for example, still has too many divisions, and the new models it has introduced still range from very good (LaCrosse and CTS wagon) to mediocre (SRX and, based on European and Australian road tests, the upcoming Cruze.).

    Sorry, but when a company is coming from behind, EVERY new vehicle had better be a hit right out of the park. Doubles and singles just aren't good enough.

    As for Chrysler...enthusiasts may be waiting with baited breath for the return of Alfa and rebadged Lancias, along with the Fiat 500, but Mr. and Ms. Middle Income America are probably going to give those cars a wide berth.

    To me, "impact" means bringing about long-term, beneficial change. Mulally is forcing Ford to change the way it does business. Ford is operating more efficiently and finally putting cars, not light trucks, first. If the Fiesta and Focus are as good as they look, for the first time since the original Focus debuted (and then crashed and burned), American-made small cars won't be also-rans in their respective classes.

    Throwing money at a problem - in this case, two bankrupt companies and their union - is not going to bring about long-term change. GM has spent the last three decades throwing money at problems and getting very little in return. The only difference in the actions of Presidents Bush and Obama with regard to GM and Chrysler is that the money came from taxpayers instead of stockholders or company reserves. That's the type of "change" we can do without...
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,192
    Sorry, but when a company is coming from behind, EVERY new vehicle had better be a hit right out of the park. Doubles and singles just aren't good enough.

    Neither are bunts and pop flys. :blush:
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    edited August 2011
    ...Alan Mulally, once more.

    Sergio Marchionne has a shot at the title for 2012 and/or 2013, if Fiat and the new Fiat-based Dodges and Chryslers are successful in North America. Regardless, I think Marchionne should be applauded for his role in saving Chrysler, and for executing a long-shot business risk.

    Others who may earn the automotive person of the title next year are Akio Toyoda, if the all-new 2012 Camry remains the best selling car in America, or Volkswagon CEO Martin Winterkorn, if the new made-for-America and made-in-Chattanooga Passat succeeds.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,744
    Serg got the company for nothing, so what is the risk?
    I do think the styling of the cars has gotten better, especially considering the short time frame.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    True, he got an equity interest in Chrysler without a capital investment, and the opportunity to obtain a majority interest, but others had the same opportunity, and passed on it. What he and his team invested was management time, creativity and entrepreneurship. In addition, they took a long-shot risk.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    The President. His Cash for Clunkers removed most of the Obama bumper stickers from the highways and byways thus contributing to the beauty of the landscape. ;)
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,744
    The funny thing is, with all the upgrades Chrysler/Dodge has come out with, considering the prior ownership, the good guys in the organization must must have had some high level friends be able to implement the 3.6, 8 speed trans, etc...
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,306
    Who was Betty Skelton? I first read about this amazing woman in a "Collectible Automobile" article some time back. Here's her obituary:

    Betty Skelton | Aviator, Indy driver, 85

    Betty Skelton, 85, an audacious aviatrix and stock-car racer often called the "First Lady of Firsts" for her record-setting feats in airplanes and automobiles during the 1940s and '50s, died of cancer Aug. 31 in The Villages, Fla.

    She held "more combined aircraft and automotive records than anyone in history," according to a biography on the museum's website.

    A three-time women's international aerobatics champion, she was the first woman to execute the "inverted ribbon cut," a breathtaking maneuver in which a pilot flies upside down about 12 feet from the ground to slice a ribbon strung between two poles. She also set two world light-plane altitude records, reaching 26,000 feet in 1949 and 29,000 feet in 1951.

    She donated her diminutive biplane, a red-and-white Pitts Special she called "Little Stinker," to the Smithsonian. The name was inspired by the plane's tendency to make a ground loop on landing.

    After retiring from stunt flying, she became the first female test driver in the auto industry and the first woman to drive an Indy car. She set a land speed record in 1956, hitting 145 m.p.h. in a beefed-up Corvette. She was the first woman inducted into the International Aerobatic Hall of Fame and the NASCAR International Motorsports Hall of Fame. - Los Angeles Times
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,306
    Drag Racing Legend Dies:

    Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins
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