Environment Forum

GM, Chrysler cleared executive decks in 2009

When 2009 began, both General Motors and Chrysler were sliding toward bankruptcy. As the year ends, both companies have survived to fight another day.

The same can’t be said for their senior executives.

Of the top 10 executives at GM’s glass-towered Detroit headquarters in January, only one — Bob Lutz – remains.  At Chrysler, only two of the 10 highest-ranking executives are still in Auburn Hills.  

At GM, the churn took a dramatic toll at the vice president level. Of the 55 top executives, including vice presidents and divisional leaders, who were at GM at the start of the year, 26 have left the automaker.  Of the remainder, few remain in the same positions they held, according to a Reuters tally.

The sweep was made near complete on Dec. 1 when the board at General Motors Co parted company with former chief executive Fritz Henderson after he had the post for only eight months.  

Only at Ford did any of the former Big Three — now called the Detroit Three — automakers kept the slate of top executives pretty much intact.  Only two of Ford’s top 10 executives have left; both retired.

Is California really banning black cars?

Has it come to this in California? Is the Golden State really banning black cars from its famous freeways, as reported in various auto industry blogs – and even The Washington Post – on the grounds that they require more air conditioning to cool?

The answer, a slightly exasperated spokesman for air quality regulator the California Air Resources Board tells Reuters, is an emphatic “NO.”

CARB spokesman Stanley Young calls the story a “very unfortunate case of misinformation from the blogosphere” stemming from proposed draft regulations that have since been put on the back burner by the agency.  But even those draft regulations, he says, never contemplated a ban on black cars.

What bailout? Automakers lay out green future at L.A. show

 The car is king in Southern California, so what better place for stressed out auto executives to blow off some steam and take a break from their considerable recent troubles?

That’s exactly what they did this week at the Los Angeles auto show, where many car manufacturers laid out plans for electric, fuel cell and diesel cars that they say are key to reviving the ailing industry.

Volkswagen’s clean diesel Jetta TDI made the biggest splash, taking home the coveted “Green Car of the Year” award. It was the first time a diesel car has taken home the industry’s top environmental prize.

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