BASF To Build New Automotive Refinish Coatings Site In China

BASF will build a new automotive refinish coatings site in Jiangmen, Guangdong Province, China in the first half of 2022.

“Guangdong Province is of strategic importance to BASF in Greater China,” said Zheng Daqing, Senior Vice President, Business and Market Development, BASF Greater China. “The investment in Jiangmen will double the production capacity of the site. Located in the fast-growing area of the Pearl River Delta, the new facility will enable us to be even closer to our customers, further supporting the automotive industry.”

Acquired from a local family business in 2016, BASF Coatings (Guangdong) Co., Ltd. is the company’s first automotive refinish coatings production site in Asia. The company says in the past three years, the site has become a world-class production facility, supported by continuous investments in environment, health and safety, product quality, people, and research and development.

After the acquisition, BASF formed a technology hub in Jiangmen to focus on colour technology and developing sustainable high-performance products for the refinish and commercial transportation segments in Asia Pacific.

“We have upgraded the production and environmental protection facilities to meet BASF’s world-class standards,” said Patrick Zhao, Senior Vice President, BASF Coatings Solutions Asia Pacific. “At the same time, we have enhanced the skillsets of our employees, with one focus being on environment, health and safety practices. This is how we have built a professional, competitive team and fostered a safe and sustainable corporate culture. We now have the full capability to serve the growing local and regional value-for-money market with strong product and solution offerings.”

BASF said its environmental credentials and contributions were recognised by the local Environmental Protection Bureau of Jiangmen when it was named a “Green Brand” in October 2018.

Hadi Zablit Named Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Secretary General

Hadi Zablit has been named as the new Secretary General for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi automotive alliance. He will oversee industrial cooperation projects and improve the efficiency and financial performance of the partnership.

Zablit is currently the Business Development Chief for the French-Japanese alliance, which sold 10.6 million vehicles worldwide in 2017. Zablit first joined Renault as an engineer and product manager in 1994, leaving to work for the Boston Consulting Group in 2000 before returning to the company just under three years ago.

The change was spurred by the alliance looking for a new start following the arrest and legal battles of ex-CEO Carlos Ghosn, who was detained last November over allegations of financial impropriety.

Ghosn is now out on bail after more than four months in a Japanese detention centre. He faces charges of deferring part of his salary until after his retirement and concealing this from shareholders, as well as siphoning off millions in Nissan cash for his own purposes.

Suncorp Invests In Vehicle Sharing Company

Suncorp has invested $1.5 million in peer-to-peer car rental company Car Next Door, and will have a board observer seat as part of a $10 million funding round in order to better understand changing vehicle use.

“We know the traditional way Australians own and use cars is evolving and this partnership will allow us to learn and better service our customer needs,” said Gary Dransfield, Chief Executive Officer Insurance at Suncorp.

Car Next Door started in 2013 with 20 cars and 60 borrowers, allowing vehicle owners to earn money by renting them out. Since then, more than 3000 cars have been shared through the platform.

Suncorp says the partnership will include the development of innovative insurance products and joint promotional activity.

“We can support Car Next Door’s members with insurance, and we can also introduce our customers to a new way to safely and easily rent out their cars in their own neighbourhoods,” said Dransfield.

Steve Johnston, CEO of Suncorp Group, said that embedding digital and data in product design and distribution remains a key area of focus.

“This has most recently been demonstrated as we internally pilot Bingle Go, a market-first insurance product designed specifically for customers who rely on more than their car for their everyday commute,” said Johnston.

Johnston also said that the reinsurance team was continuing to review options ahead of a number of multi-year programs expiring at the end of June.

“Based on discussions with the reinsurers we remain confident there will be strong demand for Suncorp’s program,” said Johnston.

Axalta Receives 2018 Masters Of Quality Supplier Award

Axalta Coating Systems hosted a ceremony where the company accepted the Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) 2018 Masters of Quality Supplier award.

The award honours top suppliers of components and services to Freightliner Trucks and Western Star brand trucks and recognises outstanding suppliers that have received high scores based on their quality, delivery, technology and cost performance as measured on a balanced scorecard basis. Axalta says such suppliers demonstrate dedication to continuous improvement of the quality of their products, support to DTNA and overall performance.

“It’s a great day of celebration for our employees as we recognise their incredible contributions for this prestigious award,” said Joseph Wood, Axalta Vice President-Commercial Transportation Coatings. “Daimler’s recognition is a great honour for the entire Axalta team. This award acknowledges our commitment to our customers, to providing exceptional service and support, and to offering outstanding products. We look forward to continuing this tremendous relationship with Daimler Trucks North America.”

“It is with the commitment and support of all our suppliers that we can provide our customers with the quality, service and highest levels of product innovations in the industry,” said Jeff Allen, SVP of Operations and Specialty Vehicles for Daimler Trucks North America. “We are pleased to recognise the 45 Masters of Quality award recipients who have excelled in their commitment to excellence, and we appreciate their continued partnership.”

Hyundai Australia Appoints Jun Heo As CEO

Hyundai Motor Company Australia has appointed Jun Heo as CEO. Heo joins the Australian division from Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, where he was Department Head for the India and Asia Pacific region.

Heo first joined HMC in 2000 and has worked in the United States, Mexico and India. He replaces previous CEO JW Lee, who has been assigned a new international markets role based at HMC headquarters.

“I am proud and honoured to join Hyundai Motor Company Australia as Chief Executive Officer,” said Heo. “For market share, brand history and the popularity of models across the portfolio, Hyundai Australia is seen as one of our company’s most successful markets globally.

“We will continue to play a key role as we develop our organisation as part of HMC’s global strategy. I look forward to working with the Australian team as we challenge the market in the future, through a dedication to progress, customer care and world-beating products.”

Penske Buys Indy Speedway, IndyCar Series

Roger Penske has announced that he will purchase the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the IndyCar Series and multiple other subsidiaries such as Indianapolis Motor Speedway Productions. Expected to close in early January, the deal will see Penske become the fourth owner of the 110-year old track.

“It’s bittersweet,” said Tony George, Chairman of Hulman & Co, the current owner. “But very exciting because we know we’re passing the torch to an individual who has created the organisation that is not only dynamic but ideally suited, I think, to take over the stewardship, a corporation that is family-involved much like ours, but with a track record that is really without compare.”

There are no management changes planned for now, but members of a board to oversee operations will be announced when the deal closes. Penske declined to share the value of the transaction, but said he planned to invest capital into the property.

“It was a great business opportunity for us to grow it to the next level,” Penske said. “We say, ‘Can this be the entertainment capital, not only the racing capital of the world, but the entertainment capital of the world in Indiana?’”

Penske said he plans to walk the entire facility and then start developing with stakeholders a list of top 10 priorities to improve the racetrack, grow the IndyCar Series and attract other events, including from NASCAR and Formula 1. Attracting a third car manufacturing partner is also a priority, according to Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co.

Penske addressed concerns on the new ownership of the racing series and his racing presenting a conflict of interest, saying he expects he will take more time away from the pit stand, while the sanctioning body of IndyCar will be a separate company.

“I understand the integrity, and there’s got to be a bright line,” Penske said. “To me, I know what my job is and hopefully we have enough credibility with everyone, and we can be sure that is not a conflict.”

In the past, Penske has also expressed an interest in seeing guaranteed spots for IndyCar regulars in the Indianapolis 500, saying that it’s something that could be discussed in the future.

“Some of the excitement’s been in the past that we wanted some people to come in the race. We also understand people who commit to the entire season and take this series around the country, around the world potentially, we need to make sure they’re taken care of. I think it’s a debate, but at this point, I wouldn’t comment one way or the other.”

Penske’s race team celebrated its 50th anniversary of first competing at Indianapolis this year. The team also holds the achievement of most wins in Indianapolis 500 history with 18 victories.

Suncorp Banking And Wealth CEO Moves To RACQ

Suncorp Banking and Wealth CEO David Carter has resigned from his post at Suncorp to become Group CEO at RACQ.

Carter will leave the company in early 2020 after 14 years at Suncorp and over three years in the CEO role. Carter joined the company in 2006 as Executive General Manager for advice solutions and, since then, has held a number of leadership roles, both in Australia and New Zealand.

“[David] has been a great contributor to the leadership team, and on behalf of everyone at Suncorp, we wish him well in his new role,” said Steve Johnston, CEO of Suncorp Group. “We are now well placed to continue to build on this success and leverage the investments we have made.”

The bank has implemented some customer initiatives under Carter’s leadership including Apple and Google Pay, the staged rollout of the New Payments Platform, and building the foundations for Suncorp’s digital banking strategy.

Suncorp said it has begun a robust recruitment process and was considering candidates from Australia and overseas to find Carter’s replacement.

“It is an exciting time for Mr Carter to take on this role leading Queensland’s largest club when the organisation has never been stronger and where it now has almost 1.8 million Queensland members in more than 70 per cent of the state’s homes.” said Bronwyn Morris, RACQ President and Chair.

“RACQ’s status as one of Australia’s most trusted brands and the diversity of its business lines makes it a truly unique organisation,” said Carter. “I look forward to leading Queensland’s largest club and market-leading financial services companies.”

Carsten Knobel To Become New Henkel CEO

Henkel has announced that CEO Hans Van Bylen will step down at the end of his term, handing over the position to current CFO Carsten Knobel from the start of 2020.

Van Bylen has been with the company for around 35 years, 15 of which were on its Management Board and four years as CEO.

“After about 35 years with Henkel, I have decided that with the expiration of my contract next year, it is now the right time to make an orderly change at the top of the company,” said Van Bylen. “For personal reasons, I will not seek a further term as Chairman of the Management Board. I would like to thank all employees and my colleagues in the Management Board for their dedication and commitment over the past years, as well as all members of our supervisory committees for their support and advice.

“I am also glad that we were able to appoint Carsten Knobel from within our Management Board as successor and CEO. I am convinced that Henkel will continue to develop successfully under his leadership.”

“Hans Van Bylen has made a significant contribution to the successful development of our company over the years and has actively developed numerous senior leaders,” said Dr. Simone Bagel-Trah, Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board and Shareholders’ Committee. “Under the leadership of Hans Van Bylen, all business units were further strengthened through acquisitions and partnerships.

“The acquisition of Sun Products significantly expanded the market position of our Laundry & Home Care business in the USA, our largest market worldwide. Acquisitions were also made in Adhesive Technologies and Beauty Care. He put particular emphasis on the digitalisation of the company in all areas, which he drove forward with great determination. We would like to sincerely thank him for the important course settings during his time as CEO and for his commitment to our company for more than 35 years.”

Knobel studied business administration and technical chemistry at the Technical University of Berlin, starting his career at Henkel in 1995 as assistant to the Management Board member responsible for research and development. He then moved to the Beauty Care business unit, where he held various positions of increasing responsibility in controlling, mergers and acquisitions and the operating businesses. Following his roles as Head of Corporate Strategy & Controlling and Financial Director of the Beauty Care unit, he was appointed Chief Financial Officer in 2012.

“With Carsten Knobel, we have appointed an excellent successor from within the company,” said Dr. Bagel-Trah. “He knows Henkel very well and has many years of international management and leadership experience. He is highly regarded by his colleagues on the Management Board as well as by our employees and has also an excellent reputation in the capital markets. We are convinced that, together with the entire Management Board, he will continue to drive vigorously the development of our company. On behalf of all Henkel committees and employees, I wish him all the best and success for the future.”

Knobel is also a member of the Supervisory Board of Lufthansa and Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Bundesliga Soccer Club Fortuna Düsseldorf in Germany.

“I am grateful for the trust which is expressed through this appointment,” said Knobel. “I am looking forward to working with my colleagues on the Management Board and our global team to shape the future of Henkel. We have excellent employees, leading brands and technologies, exciting innovations and great opportunities for further sustainable profitable growth with our businesses in a dynamic market environment.”

US Army, GM Collaborate To Improve Automotive Cybersecurity

The US Army CCDC Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) and General Motors have announced a new Cooperative Research And Development Agreement (CRADA). The objective of the CRADA is bolstering the US Army’s and GM’s vehicle cybersecurity expertise over the next two years.

Cybersecurity experts from both parties will share best practices, methodologies, tools and approaches focused on conducting penetration testing and cybersecurity risk analysis. Both organisations hope to share key learnings with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) for the development of common standards in addition to improving cybersecurity methods.

Two US Army engineers will embed with their counterparts at GM, while a GM expert is scheduled to co-locate with the US Army’s Ground Vehicle Cybersecurity Team.

“Cybersecurity is an area of growing concern to the auto industry and one GM takes very seriously, which is why a partnership with the US Army is crucially important,” said Kevin Tierney, GM Chief Product Cybersecurity Officer.

Henkel, Carbon Revolution Join Forces

Henkel has reached a supply agreement with Carbon Revolution, a privately-owned Australian manufacturer of one-piece automotive carbon composite wheels. The collaboration includes dedicated manufacturing facilities, which Henkel will invest in, to be established at the company’s existing plant near Melbourne.

“Based on a number of years of close collaboration with Carbon Revolution, we have extended our proven portfolio of composite material technologies to create proprietary solutions that meet the demanding performance specifications of the global car makers,” said Konrad Brimo Hayek, Senior Business Development Manager for automotive components at Henkel. “The collaboration with Carbon Revolution is targeted at providing various global OEM carbon wheel programmes with the best solutions available and includes active support from Henkel via dual production capacities in the EU and locally in Australia.”

Carbon Revolution says its carbon fibre composite wheels are now used on some of the world’s most prestigious sports cars. The reductions in unsprung rotational mass translate into vehicle handling benefits, from better steering feel and traction to improved accelerating and braking response.

“As light-weighting components, carbon wheels can make a significant contribution to minimising the energy consumed when spinning the wheels up and dragging them back down every time the car is accelerated or slowed,” said Brett Gass, Chief Technology Officer at Carbon Revolution. “This saves fuel on combustion engine vehicles and battery power on hybrid and fully electric vehicles, maximising their range. Henkel’s advanced material technology also adds to the overall reduction of our carbon wheels in noise, vibration and harshness when compared to steel or aluminium wheels, which means automakers can save weight on additional sound insulation.”