Designer leaves Fiat for GM
General Motors has hired Fiat S.p.A.'s former chief designer, Peter Davis, as an interior design executive. Davis headed design at Fiat in Italy from 1993-98 and led development of the innovative Fiat Multipla minivan and the Punto car. Before joining Fiat, he worked for Adam Opel AG during the 1980s as a designer of vehicle interiors. Davis will report to Bill Scott, a designer recently put in charge of GM interiors.
GM's move follows DaimlerChrysler's hiring two weeks ago of Volkswagen AG's top designer in America, Freeman Thomas. Thomas, who designed the Audi TT and co-designed the Volkswagen New Beetle, becomes DaimlerChrysler's vice president of advance product design strategy.
Nissan D.C. lobbyist retires
Timothy MacCarthy - Nissan North America Inc.'s veteran Washington lobbyist - retires this week to become a part-time consultant for the automaker. MacCarthy, who was Nissan's vice president of government affairs, served in the company's Washington office since 1990. Before joining Nissan, MacCarthy, 54, worked for the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association. Jason Vines, Nissan's vice president of corporate communications, will oversee Nissan's Washington operations.
D/C, McLaren to develop SLR
DaimlerChrysler has hired British race car builder McLaren Cars Ltd. to assemble approximately 500 Mercedes-Benz SLR high-performance coupes annually.
The two companies will spend about $200 million developing the SLR for production in 2003 at McLaren's Woking, England, headquarters, DaimlerChrysler said Friday, July 9. The concept car debuted at the 1999 North American International Auto Show in Detroit and features gullwing doors and a 550-hp engine.
The production SLR will use a V-8 engine producing more than 544 hp. With a supercharger and a special water-based intercooler, the engine will develop over 500 pounds-feet of torque at about 4,000 rpm, DaimlerChrysler said.
A dog-days plug for MPV
Although its new 2000 MPV arrived in showrooms this month, Mazda North American Operations will delay introductory advertising until Sept. 6, when it debuts two TV spots and print ads.
Until then, Mazda is running a contest giving away one-year leases on MPVs. It has promoted that effort through direct mail, dealership displays and its Web site (www.mazdausa.com).
'This is really unique in that we got the vehicles in earlier than expected, and we can market the vehicles for 60 days before the launch,' said Chris Vournakis, Mazda advertising manager.
Ford moves Brazil account
Ford Motor Co. will move its $90 million Ford Brazil ad account from Y&R Sao Paulo to J. Walter Thompson on Jan. 1. J. Walter Thompson already has Ford's accounts in Argentina, Chile and Colombia. Bob Graziano, strategic marketing director of Ford South America, said the change will give Ford a consistent message in the region. Brazil is the biggest Ford market in the region.