Car Culture

Car Culture

Mazda North American Operations announced the appointment of Yasutake Tsuchida to senior director of design, effective immediately. In this role Tsuchida will oversee design operations, including next-generation vehicle planning and brand strategy development.

Tsuchida joins the MNAO team with more than 22 years of experience at Mazda’s headquarters in Hiroshima, Japan. He most recently served as the Chief Designer of the latest generation of Mazda3, which launched in November 2018 and went on to win the 2020 World Car Design of the Year award. Tsuchida was also the chief designer of the Kai Concept, and in the late 2000s Tsuchida worked in the Design Studio at MNAO, where he led design on the Furai concept car. Tsuchida began his career at Mazda specializing on exterior design and in the late 1990s and in the early 2000s was lead designer for Mazda3, CX-7 and the Ryuga concept car.

Kia Motors America announced that automotive industry veteran, Michael McHale, has joined the company as director, brand experience. In the newly created role, McHale will lead all aspects of public relations and external communications including events, experiential, auto shows and strategic partnerships. McHale will report directly to Russell Wager, KMA’s vice president, marketing.

McHale brings more than 25 years of automotive industry experience to his new role. Recently, McHale was head of communications at Rivian Automotive where he oversaw the brand’s introduction to the U.S. market in 2018. Previously, McHale spent 11 years as director, corporate communications at Subaru of America.

Wejo, a connected vehicle data firm, announced that Chief Financial Officer Barry Nightingale is planning to retire and John Maxwell has been appointed his successor in the role. The changes to the leadership team are effective immediately.

Nightingale helped lead the company from early-stage tech startup to global connected vehicle data leader. This included the $42 million of recent funding to ensure the Wejo team could remain at the forefront of the high growth connected vehicle market. Under his financial leadership, Wejo was named “Fastest Growing Company of the Year” at GP Bullhound’s Northern Tech Awards and established robust finance, legal and compliance teams and processes. Nightingale will continue to advise the company through early 2022.

“Barry has been a savvy financial leader and sage business counselor through some of our most critical moments of growth, and I’m grateful for all he has done to get Wejo to this inflection point,” said Richard Barlow, founder and CEO of Wejo. “He leaves big shoes for John to fill, but I have every confidence the company will remain on strong financial footing in the months and years ahead under his leadership.”

Maxwell will report directly to Barlow and work closely with the entire executive team and the Board of Directors as the company enters its next phase of growth. He will be based in the New York City area.

Maxwell comes to Wejo with more than 30 years of experience driving financial growth in highly successful start-ups in complex industries including tech and telecom. Most recently, he was CFO of Aquestive Therapeutics, a specialty pharmaceutical company with a focus on epilepsy and allergy treatments. He started his career at Ernst & Young, and held various senior financial roles at General Signal, ADP, INFONXX and Plainfield Asset Management.

ComplyNet, a leading provider of compliance tools exclusively for the automobile dealer market, announced the addition of Josh Koronich to their sales team.  

“I have had the pleasure of working with Josh previously,” stated Adam Crowell, president and general counsel for ComplyNet. “Josh proved himself through his rapid advancement from sales to sales management, and we expect the same at ComplyNet.”

ComplyNet continues to iterate its services and offerings and has recently introduced ABLE, a comprehensive compliance management tool that drives online training, eTask remediation, and the newest service, Guided Compliance Assistant (GCA).

“We have been very mindful of the dealer user experience and have taken the opportunity to incorporate design elements to reflect our learnings, from user management to reporting,” said Crowell. “Our service is exclusively and relentlessly dedicated to automobile dealers, and as such, we only concern ourselves with their risks and requirements.”

TrueCar announces a donation to DAV (Disabled American Veterans) and four nonprofit organizations of choice from the winning dealerships of the $21K Challenge.

TrueCar pledged to donate $100, up to $11,000, to DAV for every meeting set during the recent NADA event. Additionally, four dealerships were picked at random to win a $2,500 donation for a nonprofit organization of their choice. TrueCar is committed to donating $11,000 to DAV and $2,500 four nonprofit organizations, for a total donation of $21,000.

TrueCar Dealership Winners and Nonprofit of Choice

  • AutoNation Ford Scottsdale (Scottsdale, Ariz.) - Phoenix Children’s Hospital
  • Nalley Nissan of Cumming (Cumming, Ga.) - Humane Society of Forsyth County
  • Sterling McCall Toyota (Houston, Texas) – Kids Meals
  • Trophy Nissan (Mesquite, Texas) - Sharing Life 

Additionally, Trophy Nissan in Mesquite, Texas plans to match the $2,500 donation from TrueCar to Sharing Life, making a total donation of $5,000 to the Texas based, nonprofit organization.   

“DAV has found a faithful and committed partner in TrueCar, a company that, time and again, proves its dedication to our nation’s heroes,” said DAV National Adjutant and CEO Marc Burgess. “This generous donation will help ensure DAV continues to provide the best service to America’s veterans by funding programs that directly impact the well-being of disabled veterans, their families and survivors.”

OnSite Fleet hired Craig Cheatle as senior vice president of business development and account management.

With 25 years of expertise in the automotive fleet industry, Cheatle brings a wealth of knowledge and the ability to apply an array of global automotive experiences and management techniques to the company, a press release stated.

“I am excited to have joined the fabulous team at OnSite and look forward to leveraging my fleet industry experiences and relationships to help us grow and provide our customers with new and customized solutions,” Cheatle said.

Cheatle developed and successfully launched the corporate sales department for Audi of America, which contributed to over 15 percent of total sales in the U.S. and Canada. He has established, implemented and led numerous fleet consulting and process reengineering programs for corporate fleets, automotive OEMs and tier 1 suppliers. Most recently, he served as the SVP business development, account management and marketing for Verra Mobility.

The Hispanic Motor Press revealed the winners for the 2021 Hispanic Motor Press Awards (HMPA). The 11thannual program continues its yearly tradition recognizing the best new vehicles for Hispanic car buyers based on styling, driving satisfaction, technology, safety, environmental impact, mechanical reliability, and value.

“With overall manufacturer advancements in powertrain technology, safety features, infotainment, connectivity, and cleaner mobility, it is more important than ever to guide Hispanic car buyers who represent 30 percent of the growth in new-vehicle sales,” states Ricardo Rodriguez-Long, founder and president of the Hispanic Motor Press.

Hispanic Motor Press reveals 2021 best new vehicles for Hispanic car buyers.

The winners were announced during a special virtual LA Auto Show Automobility media day with the Motor Press Guild (MPG) in Los Angeles.

The 2021 HMPA winners and finalists in the 10 categories are:

Car Model of the Year: Hyundai Elantra   
Finalists: Kia K5, Honda Accord

EV Car of the Year: Ford Mach-E 
Finalists: Chevrolet Bolt EV, Kia Niro EV

Hybrid Car of the Year: Honda CR-V Hybrid
Finalists: Hyundai Elantra Hybrid, Toyota RAV4 Prime

Sports Car of the Year: Dodge Challenger SRT
Finalists: Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang

Luxury Car of the Year: Genesis GV80
Finalists: Cadillac Escalade w/Super Cruise, Lincoln Aviator

Car Technology of the Year: Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell
Finalists: Honda Clarity Fuel Cell, Hyundai NEXO Fuel Cell

SUV of the Year: Chevrolet Suburban
Finalists: Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe

Pick-Up Truck of the Year: Ford F-150                
Finalists: Chevrolet Silverado , Ram 1500     

Adventure Car of the Year: Ram TRX
Finalists: Jeep Gladiator Mojave, Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

Family Car of the Year: Chrysler Pacifica
Finalists: Buick Envision, Toyota Sienna

The 2021 HMPA Jury Panel is comprised of independent Hispanic automotive journalists, content creators and industry influencers selected by the organization’s advisory board. Over 20 juror members evaluated over 100 new vehicles during 2020 and into 2021.

Primeritus Financial Services, Inc., (PFS) has named Jason Herman senior vice president of remarketing, effective immediately. In this role, he will lead the company’s Remarketing and Ancillary Service Operations.  PFS is the nation’s leading service provider of recovery management, skip tracing, and remarketing services to the auto finance and insurance services industry. 

In his new position, Herman will report to Joe Mappes, chief revenue officer of Primeritus Financial Services, Inc., and will join the senior leadership team.

“Jason is a tenured operations executive with a proven track record in managing all aspects of the asset management lifecycle,” Mappes said. “He brings a substantial amount of expertise on a national level, manages remarketing teams, and builds out customized solutions for auto finance institutions.  Furthermore, Jason’s deep knowledge and expertise in the financial services industry will be an asset to our company, partners, and customers.”

Herman comes to Primeritus with over two decades of asset remarketing experience from his years with U.S. Bank, where he began in 1999, and advanced to SVP, director of asset remarketing before leaving the bank for Mike Albert Leasing in 2019.

“I am excited to join the Primeritus family,” Herman said.  “As both a previous customer and fellow consignor in the remarketing industry. I have always admired the innovation and expertise that Primeritus provides. I look forward to sharing my experiences in the banking, fleet, and financial services industries with the team.  By utilizing the ideal remarketing channels to net the best returns for our clients, we can deliver every possible dollar, on every asset, every time.”

Spireon announced the unification of its fleet and trailer product offerings into a combined transportation portfolio and appointed John Krumheuer as its president. A veteran sales leader with over 20 years’ experience in transportation technology, including senior roles with telematics and fleet management platform providers, Krumheuer takes the reins at a pivotal time to expand the business and drive future growth.

“John’s extensive knowledge of day-to-day fleet and trailer operations and wealth of experience problem solving on behalf of more than 3,500 clients throughout the course of his career make him a welcome addition to the Spireon executive team,” said Kevin Weiss, CEO of Spireon.

Krumheuer will guide market share growth of FleetLocate, Spireon’s solution suite for advanced trailer telematics, vehicle data and diagnostics. His role will encompass supporting strategic relationships with resellers and channel partners, as well as ensuring ongoing technology innovation.

“I’m excited to join the company during this crucial time and look forward to growing the already impressive customer base of over 20,000,” Krumheuer said.

An Army veteran, Krumheuer’s previous roles include senior vice president of sales for SmartDrive and vice president of sales and account management at PeopleNet, a Trimble company.

Mercedes-Benz Vans USA announced the appointment of Nicolette Lambrechts to the position of Vice President and Managing Director Sales and Marketing for Mercedes-Benz Vans USA, effective May 1. In this role, she will lead all van business operations including the sales, marketing along with service and parts for Mercedes-Benz Vans in the United States. Lambrechts succeeds Robert Veit who will take over the position as Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz Vans UK.

Lambrechts joined the MBUSA Vans team in October 2019 as the general manager for Mercedes-Benz Vans Sales. She first joined Mercedes-Benz South Africa in 2001 as a graduate trainee.