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June 29, 2013 12:01 AM

Who do you want on your resume: Tesla or Chrysler?

James B. Treece
James B. Treece
News Editor
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    James B. Treece is industry editor for Automotive News.

    Here's further proof that Tesla Motors is the hottest U.S. automaker right now: It has moved up in the resume rankings.

    This week, EcoDual Inc., a maker of dual-fuel, natural-gas systems for heavy-duty Class 8 trucks, named a new CEO. Here's the headline on their press release:

    "EcoDual announces former Tesla, Chrysler executive as President and CEO."

    Check out the order on that release. It implies that this little-known supplier thinks it will gain more credibility by saying that its new CEO, Mike Donoughe, worked at Tesla than by noting his history at Chrysler.

    Donoughe's own resume is impressive. He worked for Chrysler for 24 years, including three in Stuttgart for Mercedes-Benz in the DaimlerChrysler AG era. He was a Chrysler vice president in 2002-08, leading the product teams working on the 2005 Dodge and Chrysler minivans, the 2007 Jeep Wrangler and the 2009 Dodge Ram pickup.

    He then served as Tesla executive vice president for vehicle engineering and manufacturing, supply chain and quality in 2008-09.

    After that, he was COO at Bright Automotive in 2010-12. Bright, along with other electric-vehicle startups, hired a number of Detroit 3 senior engineers to boost their credibility.

    Bright at the time was one of the more solid EV companies in a field that was often long on hope and short on sound engineering. Bright even landed a $5 million investment from General Motors.

    But EcoDual, of Beaufort, S.C., didn't put Bright in the headline. Maybe it didn't want to be associated with a now-defunct startup. But neither, apparently, did it consider six years as a vice president at Chrysler more important than two years as an EVP at Tesla.

    Sales of Tesla cars so far don't come close to a weekend's volume for the Dodge Ram pickup and the Chrysler minivans. But there's no doubt that in EcoDual's mind, and in the public consciousness, the Tesla name has more pizzazz than Chrysler's.

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