Friday, May 04, 2007

GM promotes three designers to new jobs

Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Auto briefs
GM promotes three designers to new jobs

DETROIT -- General Motors Corp. on Tuesday promoted Bryan Nesbitt, who helped create the Chrysler PT Cruiser, to vice president of design for North America as the automaker revamped design responsibilities worldwide. Nesbitt, 38, moves to the new North American post June 1 from executive director of design for GM's European operations, the automaker said Tuesday. GM named Mark Adams as design vice president for Europe and Kenneth Parkinson to the similar job for the Asia-Pacific region.

NHTSA investigates Jeep Commanders

U.S. regulators stepped up an investigation of DaimlerChrysler AG 's Jeep Commander sport utility vehicles after 495 complaints that the engine can stall during driving. The inquiry covers 2006 and 2007 models and affects as many as 136,444 of the SUVs, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Tuesday on its Web site. The agency said the complaints included 445 reported to the automaker. Two cases involved crashes. NHTSA raised the investigation to an engineering analysis, the second step in its review process. The agency began its inquiry in February, with 50 complaints.

Jon Pepper leaves Ford for Hess Corp. post

Ford Motor Co. announced Tuesday that Jon Pepper, its director of global corporate communications, is leaving the company to become vice president of communications for Hess Corp ., an oil firm based in New York. Ford also named Ray Day executive director of global corporate communications. Pepper, a former reporter and columnist for The Detroit News, is expected to leave Ford on May 18 and will begin work for Hess in June.

Spartan reports $7.2M profit, to add 3 plants

Chassis-maker Spartan Motors Inc. reported record first-quarter earnings and sales Tuesday, and said it will add three manufacturing facilities. The Charlotte, Mich.-based company posted profits of $7.2 million for the first three months of 2007, up from $4.5 million a year ago. Sales were $143 million, compared to $103.7 million in the first quarter of 2006. Spartan said in a statement that its order backlog is up more than 37 percent, the largest in its history, prompting the addition of production capacity. However, the company, a leading supplier of motorhome chassis, said it does have concerns about the effect of fuel prices on the RV market.

Detroit News staff, wire and Bloomberg News reports.

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