Bricklin says his company plans to start selling vehicles built by China's Chery Automobile Co. in the United States in 2007. He recruited Gagnon, a former CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America, to join Visionary Vehicles in March.
"A few weeks ago, Malcolm and I hit a crossroad," said Gagnon, 49. "He reneged on some commitments he made to me, and as a result, I felt it was time to start looking for some other kind of opportunity."
Gagnon said Bricklin no longer wants to place Visionary's sales and distribution headquarters on the West Coast, keeping it in New York instead.
"I felt strongly the West Coast is where it needed to be, given that's where all the talent was," Gagnon said.
Bricklin, reached late Monday, agreed that things didn't work out "because we decided not to have our headquarters in Southern California."
But Bricklin also said Gagnon "really didn't have startup capabilities. ... For a bigger, more established company, he'd be perfect."
Gagnon said Bricklin also broke a "financially based" promise to him. He would not elaborate. Bricklin said he and Gagnon "didn't agree on severance." He also declined to elaborate.
Visionary Vehicles has yet to establish a dealer network.
Gagnon said he will become CEO of Prompt Care, a Costa Mesa, Calif., company that removes allergens, pathogens and other substances from offices, homes and boats. He assumes his new duties June 15.
You may e-mail Gail Kachadourian at [email protected]