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Posts Tagged ‘Roger Penske’

Automotive Hall of Fame Set to Induct Four “Who Moved the World Forward”

List includes Penske, Tata and Montezemolo.

by on May.07, 2015

Racing team owner and business man Roger Penske is part of the next induction class for the Automotive Hall of Fame.

Among the countless men and women who have worked in the auto industry since its earliest days, only the rare few have left a truly lasting legacy on the world, and four of them will find a lasting legacy as they’re inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame two months from now.

The four are a diverse group of modern-day legends, such as Roger Penske, Luca di Montezemolo and Ratan Tata, as well as industry pioneer Elwood Haynes – all chosen, the AHF said, because they “moved the world forward through their contributions to the global auto industry.”

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“Each made their unique vision a reality through tenacity and creativity,” said William R. Chapin, president of the Automotive Hall of Fame. It is the story of the automotive industry from the beginning and the Automotive Hall of Fame is proud to share that story.” (more…)

Controversial IndyCar Chief Steps Down

Targeted by owner’s coup.

by on Oct.29, 2012

The fiery Las Vegas crash that took the life of Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon was one of many missteps that led to Bernard's ouster.

Randy Bernard, the head of the IndyCar racing series, has stepped down after a controversial, three-year reign following an angry revolt by team owners determined to oust him.

The announcement comes despite widespread praise for the IndyCar Series which was credited with having one of its best seasons ever.  Among other developments, Chevrolet returned to the racing program this past year, a season that saw IndyCar introduce its first all-new car in nine years.

But the series has been plagued by dissent, some owners openly talking of a coup against Hulman & Co., which controls both the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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Despite the strong showing this past year, Bernard was blamed for a number of missteps that hurt both the racing league and his own position as its chief executive.  Among the most criticized moves was a decision to hold the series’ final race of 2011 in Las Vegas at a track that some experts felt was too dangerous at IndyCar speeds.


Penske Pairs Up With Hertz

Follows Hertz acquisition of Dollar Thrifty.

by on Sep.07, 2012

A force to be reckoned with, Roger Penske expands his presence in the car rental business.

Hertz, the rental car giant, has entered into an alliance with Penske Automotive Group of Bloomfield Hills, which could lead to PAG picking up more Hertz franchises across the U.S.

Hertz chairman and chief executive officer Mark P. Frissora said the Penske partnership fits nicely into Hertz’s vision of being the global leader in mobility solutions.   The rental giant last month announced it would purchase rival Dollar Thrifty for $2.3 billion.

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With more than 25% market share, Hertz is the leading on-airport car rental brand. The company has also been serving the local market and insurance replacement industry for more than 10 years and is a recognized supplier to more than 193 of the 209 largest insurance companies.


Penske Signs on as Fisker Dealer

A much-needed endorsement?

by on Jun.12, 2012

Fisker Automotive gets a big -- and much-needed -- endorsement from Roger Penske.

Fisker Automotive has garnered what could be taken as a significant endorsement from the legendary motorsports team owner and entrepreneur Roger Penske.  His Penske Automotive Group has signed on to sell and service the battery-car start-up’s plug-in hybrid vehicles in Arizona and the surrounding region through Fisker of Scottsdale.

The addition of the PAG outlet in Scottsdale means Fisker now has 48 outlets in North America alone, and will soon be distributed for the first time in China and the Middle East, after signing new retail agreements in both regions, Fisker officials said.

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“Penske Automotive Group is one of the most respected and successful auto retail companies in the world,” said Matthew Malfitano, Fisker’s director of North American operations.“Their support speaks volumes about Fisker’s market potential. Fisker is proud to be part of the Penske team and we look forward to a fruitful relationship.’


Track Damage Nearly Wrecks Detroit IndyCar Race

Crash, long delay blamed on problem with track surface.

by on Jun.04, 2012

Detroit Grand Prix crews make emergency repairs on the damaged Belle Isle track.

Detroit’s weather-beaten roads are a frequent target of criticism, but drivers on the IndyCar circuit were particularly disturbed when the surface on the Motor City’s Belle Isle race track began to break up, leading to a crash and a long delay as crews raced to patch things up.

After a more than two-hour delay, the race was allowed to resume, albeit in abbreviated form, with Scott Dixon delivering the victory in a Target Chip Ganassi Honda, his first win of the year.

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The Detroit race was the city’s first since 2008 and was intended to serve as a highlight of Motown’s turnaround, with sponsors including Chevrolet and race and industrial mogul Roger Penske investing heavily to pull out all the promotional stops.

Initially, the biggest problem appeared likely to be the rain clouds that hovered over the Motor City since Friday’s practice sessions began.  But by Sunday the weather finally seemed ready to cooperate.  Unfortunately, the track didn’t.


GM Reveals New Turbo IndyCar as it Commits to Indy Returning to Detroit

Revived Motor City race series may add new battery car event.

by on Oct.12, 2011

GM's new IndyCar entry will migrate to a high-tech direct-injected turbo V-6.

The roar is returning to Detroit.  With General Motors lending its support – along with race legend Roger Penske – the Motor City will again see a weekend of racing next year with the IndyCar series serving as its high-profile anchor.

To mark its own return to IndyCar racing, meanwhile, GM’s Chevrolet division unveiled an all-new open-wheeled car that will feature a new high-tech turbocharged V-6 engine making as much as 700 horsepower.

But to reflect the changing nature of the automotive market, GM’s top American executive told that the partners in the annual event will be looking at the possibility of adding a race featuring battery-powered vehicles.

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“Detroit is a natural for racing,” proclaimed Mark Reuss, president of GM’s North American operations, during an announcement at the maker’s headquarters along the Detroit River.  “The city puts the world on wheels.  The roar of the engine simply belongs in Detroit.”


Smart Car’s New GM Has Tough Task

Tracey Matura takes over as Mercedes-Benz USA assumes control of U.S. distributor.

by on Mar.24, 2011

Smart's ForTwo represents the automaker's biggest problem. The 13-year-old design needs to be revamped to be competitive.

Mercedes-Benz USA has named one of its veteran retail strategists to take over the troubled Smart brand.

Tracey Matura, currently general manager of retail strategic development, was named to take over the brand a month after M-B announced it was canceling the Penske Automotive Group’s contract to distribute Smart cars in the U.S.

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Matura has a tough job. Initially given Smart distribution rights in 2008, Penske had good success the first year as the car’s novelty and tiny size made it a cult favorite. But once the early adopters got their Smart cars, keeping the sales momentum became tough.


Why Daimler Dumped Penske Over Smart

But after years of dithering, can the Germans do better at selling microcars to Americans?

by on Feb.18, 2011

Roger Penske and his team - including Smart boss Jill Lajdziak - appear to have been blindsided by Daimler's announcement about the brand's future.

After dithering for years over the future of Smart, Daimler AG is about to take a make-it-or-break it gamble on the long-struggling brand.

In a surprise move, the German maker – which also builds the high-line Mercedes-Benz brand, announced it would pull Smart’s U.S. distribution operations away from the Detroit-based Penske Auto Group and operate the American franchise on its own.  Penske had been given the distributorship, in 2008, after years of delay by Daimler, which wasn’t sure how to sell small cars in a market that normally equates bigger with better.

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Roger Penske, chairman of the eponymous Penske Auto Group and one of the most respected figures in the U.S auto industry, says the German automaker’s decision to cancel its distribution agreement with PAG was shaped by a desire to integrate Smart more closely into the Mercedes-Benz marketing organization.

“Going forward, Smart is seen as an integral part of the Mercedes-Benz network,” Penske said, adding Mercedes-Benz also needs the efficiency credits generated by Smart to meet future fuel-economy standards in both Europe and North America.


Can Smart Reinvent Itself?

U.S. distributor may teach the Germans what’s needed to save smart brand.

by on Jan.14, 2011

With the brand's sales off another 60%, last year, Smart USA boss Jill Lajdziak can only hope and wait for the distributor's planned 4-seat model.

It was the hit of 2008, its U.S. launch inadvertently timed to take advantage of the record run-up in fuel prices.  But since then, things haven’t gone nearly so well for the little Smart USA brand, which reported a nearly 60% drop in sales, last year alone, even as most makers reported double-digit gains.

In a bid to stave off disaster, the U.S. distributor, which is operated by Detroit entrepreneur Roger Penske, plans to introduce an all-new model later this year that will be built for it by Nissan, rather than Daimler, the German parent of the Smart brand.

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Might even more products be added to the U.S. line-up that aren’t available to Smart buyers in other parts of the world? That’s not out of the question, according to various company officials who are betting that Smart can rebound from its disastrous tumble.

“We’ve got a business to run,” and that means that Smart USA may have to make some critical moves that aren’t necessarily what the folks at Daimler AG headquarters, in Stuttgart would like,” acknowledges Jill Lajdziak, the U.S. distributor’s boss.


New Smart Chief Hopes to Revive Slumping Sales

Lajdziak says turnaround won’t require second car.

by on Jan.12, 2010

After dropping 38% in volume, last year, new Smart boss Jill Lajdziak sees opportunities for a turnaround.

Smart’s new U.S. boss says she’s confident the brand can turn itself around after suffering a devastating sales decline of nearly 40% in 2009.  And it won’t take the addition of a second model, insisted Jill Lajdziak, though the subsidiary of Germany’s Daimler AG is reportedly looking at such an alternative.

In her first public comments since replacing former Smart President Dave Schembri, earlier this month, Lajdziak acknowledged that the company has faced some serious problems over the last 12 months that won’t be easy to resolve.

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During 2008, Smart sold 24,622 copies of its pint-sized fortwo, a figure that plunged 38% in 2009.  Lajdziak discounted concerns that the 2-seater is suffering from product design problems, countering that the situation facing the company was “very different” in 2009 from the year before, when it staged a much-delayed entry into the U.S. market.