MFG 2.0

Penske, Think Bleeding Big Three Talent, Market

A couple of semi-related items on the green car front from the reliable sources at the Autoblog Green and Fortune's Green Wombat. Seems that the international up-and-comers in the auto market are grabbing executive talent, and marketshare, from their own reliable sources -- within US manufacturing.

Electric car company Think, which was acquired by Ford back in the late 90s, then sold again after the US auto lobby successfully scrapped California's zero-emission vehicle mandate, has just poached a highly-placed, and highly-regarded, exec from its former owners.

Norwegian electric carmaker Think Global, once owned by Ford, has tapped Ford executive Richard Canny as its new president and chief operating officer. Canny previously served as president of Ford South America, president of Ford Argentina and managing director of Ford Malaysia.

Here's the Think:

And Penske looks to have a potential shooting star in its product portfolio with the Smart fourtwo.

Autoblog points to a recent AFP story says that the US distributor for the Smart car is in the process of continually raising its sales estimates for 2008-2009:

Roger Penske, chairman of the Penske Automotive Group of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Smart's sole American distributor, predicted sales would boom beyond an original estimate of 20,000 vehicles.

The tiniest car on sale in the US market, accommodates just two adults. It is assembled in Hambach, France.

"We expect Smart sales will come in between 24,000 and 27,500 during 2008," Penske said.

The Smart "fourtwo" car went on sale in the US for the first time in January.

Penske said surging gasoline prices had helped boost demand for the small, fuel-efficient car.

If Smart owner Daimler AG of Germany can deliver enough vehicles to the US, Smart sales could reach between 30,000 and 32,000 units in 2009, Penske said.

Although the numbers for each company are as small as their cars at this point, I'd still rather be riding a potential shooting star than a dying breed of dog anyday.>

TAGS: Innovation
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