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Trio of Canadians named 2021 Automotive Information All-stars

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A trio of Canadians have been named 2021 Automotive Information All-stars.

Magna Worldwide CEO Swamy Kotagiri, Common Motors President North America Steve Carlisle and Aurora Innovation CEO Chris Urmson all made the annual listing, handed out by the Automotive Information Canada sibling publication primarily based in Detroit.

Right here’s why every was chosen:

Swamy Kotagiri

CEO, Magna Worldwide

He may not have gotten the blockbuster deal he wished this summer time, however a message was despatched nonetheless.

With Kotagiri, 52, on the helm, the world’s fourth-largest elements provider by annual gross sales to automakers is betting huge on its capabilities in superior driver-assistance techniques know-how, and it is keen to spend huge — however neatly — to bolster it.

“One of many key pillars of this previous yr was to focus and deploy capital in a really pragmatic solution to give attention to high-growth areas,” Kotagiri mentioned. “ADAS occurs to be one in every of them.”

Magna made a splash this yr when it made a cope with Swedish superior driver-assist techniques provider Veoneer for $3.8 billion (all figures in USD), a transfer heralded as a “masterstroke” by one analyst. It was to not be, nevertheless, as Qualcomm and New York funding agency SSW Companions outbid Magna and purchased Veoneer for $4.5 billion.

However, Kotagiri mentioned Magna would keep the course on its technique. In 2022, as an example, it should debut a brand new digital radar on the Fisker Ocean electrical SUV that it says can improve a car’s skill to detect objects past a standard analog radar. The radar was developed as a part of a partnership with Texas-based startup Uhnder.

Steve Carlisle

President, North America, Common Motors

As the worldwide microchip scarcity pummeled manufacturing throughout the business this yr, Steve Carlisle and his workforce prioritized output of Common Motors’ most worthwhile and in-demand automobiles.

Carlisle, president of GM North America, mentioned in Might that the automaker was “always prioritizing and re-prioritizing to guard” its full-size pickups and SUVs.

GM’s early name to sacrifice manufacturing of different automobiles to maintain its money cows rolling off meeting traces paid off. By shutting down crops that make lower-profit crossovers and sedans for months, GM may funnel its restricted chip provides to its most profitable crops. Its full-size SUV plant in Arlington, Texas, has remained open with out interruption, and its three full-size pickup crops have wanted minimal downtime relative to these operated by rivals.

GM additionally simplified its portfolio by eradicating sure elements, corresponding to a fuel-saving module, to get pickups to sellers and prospects quicker.

Carlisle, 59, and his workforce labored with sellers to find out which nameplates and configurations would promote greatest of their markets and relied on a monitoring device that confirmed sellers the standing of their orders. Many sellers lined up patrons for automobiles whereas they had been nonetheless in transit to the shop.

All through the chip disaster, GM saved electrical car growth on monitor, with the GMC Hummer pickup slated to launch earlier than the top of the yr and the Cadillac Lyriq crossover following in early 2022. 

Carlisle has persistently communicated with GM’s seller councils in regards to the EV launches and oversaw buyer reservation packages for the Lyriq, Hummer pickup and Hummer SUV.

GM plans to launch 30 EVs globally although 2025 and aspires to have a completely electrical light-duty lineup by 2035. Nonetheless, Carlisle has maintained that GM will hearken to the market and proceed to reinforce its inner combustion portfolio whereas executing its EV plans.

“I wouldn’t need anyone to assume that we’re turning our again on ICE through the transition,” Carlisle mentioned in Might. “However we’re setting ourselves up for the [electrification] pivot on the identical time.”

Chris Urmson

CEO, Aurora Innovation

Few executives can say they’ve signed on to as many high-profile partnerships and offers as Chris Urmson, CEO of Aurora Innovation.

The self-driving tech firm this yr has partnered with FedEx to pilot driverless supply providers. It signed on to an settlement with big-rig producer PACCAR to load its vans with Aurora’s know-how, and it will do the identical a pair months later with Volvo.

All of that got here on the heels of a significant deal late final yr, when Uber invested $400 million into Aurora and gave the corporate Uber ATG, its autonomous-vehicle division.

Aurora went public in November, buying and selling on the Nasdaq after it merged with a particular goal acquisition firm.

Even its itemizing got here on the heels of a significant cope with a few of its shareholders.

In keeping with Bloomberg, Uber and different main shareholders corresponding to Sequoia Capital and the corporate’s founders can’t promote their shares for 4 years.

Urmson, 45, in an interview with Benzinga, mentioned that deal is designed to inform traders that “this isn’t a short-term, flip-it guess.” As a substitute, Urmson and Aurora are dedicated to rolling out its know-how over the course of a number of years because it develops.


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