“Retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”
That’s what the 52-year-old Tony Posawatz said as he assumed the reigns to Fisker Automotive a month after retiring from a three-decade career with General Motors, where he oversaw the development of the Chevrolet Volt.
Posawatz retired recently, but was recruited heavily by now-former Fisker CEO Tom LaSorda to replace him at the company. LaSorda, for his part, only came into the executive position this past February 28, to clean up the plague of reliability issues the startup has been facing. He assembled what he called a “Quality SWAT Team” to identify and solve issues customers were having with their cars in March. However, last Friday, a 2012 Fisker Karma plug-in sedan made national headlines after catching fire while parked in a grocery store lot. It’s the third recent incident from the more than 1,000 Karma sedans on the road.
“Continued investigative efforts will be primarily focused within the specific area of origin, located forward of the driver’s side front tire,” Fisker said in a statement. Company officials did not answer any further questions when asked today during the automaker’s phone conference.
Could that have led to LaSorda’s downscaled role in the company? Possibly. Or it could be, to co-opt an auto industry term, planned obsolesce if we’re to believe LaSorda’s statement on the issue: ”Part of my assignment at Fisker was to recruit a long-term CEO and I cannot think of a better person than Tony to take us forward. He is a real product guy for a product driven company.”
Posawatz, LaSorda’s successor, retired from General Motors last month after stock prices for the world’s second-largest automaker fell below $20 per share and forecasts were cut from 60,000 sales to 45,000 worldwide for the Chevrolet Volt and its overseas versions. Through July of 2012, GM has sold 10,666 Chevrolet Volt plug-ins in the U.S., up 272 percent on the year.
When it comes to plug-in electric cars, Posawatz carries a wealth of experience with him, turning the Bob Lutz-led concept car that was said to be more aerodynamic backwards into a technological wunderkind—and doing so for a relatively modest price.
“Ultimately, Fisker Automotive is all about products that challenge the way that we think about cars for the next generation,” said company founder Henrik Fisker. “Tony’s expertise will guarantee that Fisker leads the way with its second-generation powertrain technology for the Atlantic and other future Fisker products.”
Additionally, Fisker appointed Joseph Chao as Executive Vice President and CEO of China and Asia, a former Chrysler executive. Fisker announced that it will be expanding into China shortly. The company said it was done for the moment with building a new executive team. We should hope so until the next malady.