New Honda Europe president Toshiaki Mikoshiba has emerging markets experience

New Honda Europe president Toshiaki Mikoshiba has emerging markets experience

Been an interesting week for auto industry executive musical chairs.

I was intrigued to see GM recruit a former senior VW India chief to head Holden in Australia, handed, by the look of it, the poisoned chalice of being the boss in place as the long-established automaker shuts down local manufacturing by 2016 or so. Imagine closing Chevrolet production in the US and you get the idea - the home-grown brand has icon status. Dorizas' new market was once a bit like the India he left last December - heavily protected by import restrictions and tariffs - but is now very much open, and nearly all the cars sold there are now imported.

Speaking of GM, former chairman and CEO Dan Akerson was in the news again this week, named to the board of global security and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin.

And, this just in, Peugeot's UK chief Tim Zimmerman is off to run GM's Southeast Asia unit from the new GMIO HQ in Singapore.

Earlier in the week, Toyota named a designer to head its Lexus luxury brand and Hyundai readmitted a departed R&D chief to the fold.

Meanwhile, former top Daimler man Andreas Renschler will pop back up again - eventually - joining VW to run commercial vehicles from 1 April, 2015, not 2014. Long 'gardening leave'?

Honda Europe is getting a new boss - a seasoned emerging markets man - and our very own Dave Leggett and Rob Golding went to dinner and bade farewell to the former chief of Vauxhall, soon to occupy a chair in Renaissance Center.

Storm clouds appear to be gathering over GM in the US, which is now facing a probe into why it took 10 years to recall a bunch of small cars over an ignition switch problem which was first noticed before the first of the new models was barely launched - the timeline made public this week makes for interesting reading. There's talk of a US$35m fine but I suspect there will be considerable negotiation before any penalty is imposed. Nonetheless, having clobbered Toyota recently over its 'sudden acceleration' issues, it looks like NHTSA is going to have to do something to make a point, or it will appear to be favouring the domestic automaker over the foreign owned one. There's more to come on this story, for sure.

While talk of European market recovery continues, there was an interesting reality check from a top Ford executive this week, writing for an investors website. Don't count necessarily on a return to those halcyon days of 18m units a year, he cautions.

Have a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor, just-auto.com

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