Ernst Lieb, the new head of Mercedes-Benz USA, has a big job ahead of him. The three-pointed star has been tarnished by quality problems and slow sales of some vehicles.
Lieb, a 51-year-old German who runs DaimlerChrysler Australia/Pacific, takes over Sept. 1. He replaces Paul Halata, a 33-year Mercedes veteran and head of the U.S. sales arm since 1999. Halata, 55, will retire.
Mercedes' U.S. sales grew under Halata -- from 189,437 in 1999 to 224,269 in 2005. But since 2001, archrival BMW has outsold Mercedes.
This is the second time Lieb has followed Halata into a job. Lieb took over Mercedes-Benz in Canada in 1985, when Halata was transferred to Europe.