Everything You Need to Know About Travis Kalanick

When it comes to the auto industry, influence is paramount. Who are the key players? Who’s opening new doors for a market ripe for advancement in everything from transportation to design? Aside from certain scandals and legal problems involving disability rights, Uber CEO Travis Cordell Kalanick just might be at the forefront of an empire where taxi-cabs die off and numerous people can earn money just for driving around! What a novel idea….

A Breakdown on Who Travis Kalanick Is

We did mention certain scandals — not that it tarnished the man who is Travis Kalanick muchTravis Kalanick at all, given this is an American entrepreneur sitting at the Forbes list at 290 of the 400 richest Americans of 2014 (estimated net worth of $5.3 billion). However, he had his fair share of trouble given Scour, his peer-to-peer file-sharing service, faced a major lawsuit with the Motion Picture Association of America and a couple other organizations due to copyright infringement. Travis Kalanick, though, was a smart cookie and had Scour filing for bankruptcy to protect assets, saving the man from an utter downfall.

Enter: Red Swoosh, another file-sharing service that was bought out by Akamai Technologies back in 2007 for a nice sizable amount — $19MM. This takes us to the current revolution Travis Kalanick has founded, enterprising and innovative in the idea that takes the transportation — and automotive — industries into a whole new level.

Enter: Uber. We’re pretty sure everyone’s heard about this mobile app and service, making waves all over the U.S. and allowing just about anyone to access qualified drivers utilizing their own vehicles to basically pick up ‘strangers’ (literally) and take them anywhere they want to go. Think of it as a supremely flexible taxi-cab type service, but expanded to achieve national dominance outside of any region. The idea is, indeed, astonishing.

As You Might Already Know, Though, Travis Kalanick Catches Some Flack

Did we mention the current legal proceeding about disability rights for some riders who require everything from a guide dog to a wheelchair? Yeah. However, Travis Kalanick’s been on the up-and-up and making the appropriate policies to ensure he’s under legal compliance with the code of the legal act in question. Kudos to you, Mr. Travis Kalanick.

It’s pretty clear, though…. Whatever your opinion of Uber is. This is a man capable of morphing the landscape into something without bounds. It’s no wonder he’s climbed high as an influence of the automotive industry. Better watch out for him.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Harald Krüger

With a sideways colon over the “u,” of course, in his name. Just sayin’. Mr. Harald Krüger gets well known not just for the unique spelling of “Harald” or “Krüger,” but because he’s the CEO of the auto group many loved for generations: BMW. How so? He’s the man responsible for pushing trends and innovations for German auto groups all over. Arguably one of the many influences in today’s auto industry.

Why Harald Krüger Could Be Changing the Game for Those High-Performance Cars in the Auto Industryharald kruger

Yes, it’s true: high-performance cars can be pricey. Harald Krüger, though, tries to push more of the affordability, which may change an entire automotive landscape like you wouldn’t believe. He’s been pushing crazy auto ideas like the i8 and the i3 electric with the optional gas range extender as well as something totally outrageous in the X6M that at first glance when announced seemed so incredibly ludicrous that it would never fly.

Guess what: that X6M is now being aped. The Gran Coupes are being imitated. It’s as if Mr. Harald Krüger has the ability to pied pipe his way through the crowd and have the automotive rats follow suit like rodent zombies. The tune he plays will be the anthem of the automotive industry. Watch.

I mean, the man’s even pushing for carbon fiber on “ordinary cars”! This idea seems to be flying just fine for vehicles like the i3 at an affordable price. So, yes, even the middle-class person looking for auto selection services can get a true-blue sports car from BMW without breaking the bank.

You Can Bet This Is a Man With Influence in the Auto Industry

We just might be seeing a merging of classes in the automotive industry where affordability, convenience and efficiency might apply to just about any and every vehicle out there. That’s great for consumers. We shall say if it’s also good for manufacturers out there. All we can say is we love those BMW’s, “Harold” (we mean “Harald”).

Everything You Need to Know About Christian Von Koenigsegg

Who knew the Swedes knew their stuff about automotive manufacturing and innovation? Seriously. This one dude could give Japan and even a certain figure in the U.S. auto industry manufacturing BMWs a run for the money. We’re, of course, talking about Mr. Christian Erland Harald Von Koenigsegg. We’ll just call him Christian Von Koenigsegg (or CVK) for short, given the name’s longer than a mile.

The History and Innovation of Christian Von Koenigsegg

You have to give some props to a little toddler Christian Von Koenigsegg at the age of five forChristian Von Koenigsegg having the dream to build the perfect sports car after watching a little-known Norwegian animated movie called Flåklypa Grand Prix. Fast forward to 1994, and you have that same toddler-turned-innovator launching what was called the “Koenigsegg project” where a prototype was designed to build the foundation where the current company Koenigsegg Automotive AB currently sits.

That was just the beginning, though. The reason why Christian Von Koenigsegg rests as one of many influences in today’s auto industry is the fact that he’s propelled standards of creativity in the market unlike other manufacturers have ever seen — such as triple suspension technology, a rear suspension system designed for models of Christian Von Koenigsegg allowing for straight-line speed and maximum comfort. Think of a car that hardly ever moves up and down with the motion of an imperfect road, and you have this idea of triple suspension.

Additionally, Christian Von Koenigsegg came up with free valve technology, utilizing electronics and air pressure to time the intake and exhaust valves, a more efficient system than the traditional camshafts we see in cars today. What does this mean? Engines run more efficiently, reducing weight and size. Each cylinder, in fact, could be controlled independently for more comprehensive combustion. In other words: we’re talking cost-efficiency, convenience, and long-lasting power. Less maintenance costs, better longevity.

Now that’s something us auto buyers look for when selecting a vehicle, don’t you think?

The Support for a New Automotive Horizon Is Truly There

It’ll only be a matter of time before we see all manufacturers go the way of Christian Von Koenigsegg. CVK’s glory.

Everything You Need to Know About Johan de Nysschen

When it comes to global and monumental careers, nobody measures up to the likes of Johan de Nysschen. Head-hunted, virtually. A game-changer, trendsetter, a standard-bearer. There’s a reason why the man’s executive bio is so extensive within the auto industry as it is and why he remains as one of many auto influences who not only propelled companies but also cross-functionalized operations between two completely different manufacturers: Infiniti Global Limited, and most recently, General Motors. Now that’s an accomplishment.

A Complete Rundown on Johan de NysschenJohan de Nysschen

This was a man serving as President of Infiniti Global Limited in 2012, a man representing global business operations for the brand over in Hong Kong, but remarkably enough, made a truly alarming switch: he ended his tenure there and jumped clear across the world to become the President of Cadillac and VP of General Motors in 2014, taking with him all the expertise he has for everything automotive.

Let’s just say Cadillac and GM have something going here, what with all the hoopla of the lost revenue and struggles of the American brands of automaking in danger of going down the tubes. Mr. Johan de Nysschen has his work cut out for him, but if anyone can do it, it’s him.

It’s All About Desire — and Johan de Nysschen Has It

Want to know more about why Cadillac and GM may be in very good hands? This is a man who served in the plastics and automotive components industry from 1981 to 1990, served as general manager for Audi South Africa in 1993 to 1999, and then became President of Audi of America, Inc. as well as Volkswagen Group of America in 2004. Pretty impressive resume, don’t you think?

He’s also an avid auto, motorcycle, and wine enthusiast. Figures. As if he has time to focus on ‘hobbies’ these days….

Everything You Need to Know About Ralph Gilles

If there’s anything the auto industry is, it’s this: creativity. From creativity doth innovation and design be revealed, and that’s the mantra of American-Canadian automobile designer Ralph Gilles believes in. It’s the beginning of excellence in the auto industry for good reason. the best auto brands out there consumers will select revolve around what trends are making it in the eyes of desires of the many, hence why Ralph Gilles remains as one of many influences in the automotive industry today.

The History of Ralph GillesRalph Gilles

You know a man like Ralph Gilles knows what he’s doing in his field if he at one point was the President and CEO of the SRT brand as well as the senior VP of Design for Chrysler. He was just recently, in fact, promoted to Head of Design for Fiat/Chrysler back in April of this year, and for good reason: the man’s behind the design of the popular 2005 Chrysler 300 as well as the 2014 SRT Viper, two very high-performance and styled cars made for the flashy without sacrificing the performance.

Ralph Gilles didn’t get that way by osmosis, though. Since the age of 8, the boy draw concept vehicles with an air to dream, and that’s really what it takes to put an automotive footprint in the sand and make a dream a reality. People love dreams — especially when driving them.

Why the Auto Industry’s Looking Up Because of Geniuses Like Ralph Gilles

Aside from the fact that Gilles has been promoted and replaced and promoted so many times — being Senior VP of Design in 2008, President and CEO of Dodge in 2009 before taking on the role of Chrysler’s senior VP of Design and CEO of Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology division — the fact that he’s dipped his fingers in so many aspects of American automotive design is reason enough why he’s included in this prestigious list of thought leaders for 2015.

Everything You Need to Know About Jeremy Clarkson

As with any industry, journalism is the fuel propelling information to the masses and launching new innovations with fervor. When it comes to auto selection, of course, that same fire of journalism has to come from somewhere: enter Jeremy Clarkson, well-known auto journalist and formidable personality known for the popular show “Top Gear” where advancements of the super-cool and fashionable in automotive manufacturing and racing get a front seat for all to watch with glee.

But That’s Not All Jeremy Clarkson Is Known forJeremy Clarkson

As any influence of the auto industry, personality is power. And Jeremy Clarkson has plenty of it. He’s brash. He’s brazen. He’s British. What’s not to love? Although that opinionated, tongue-in-cheek prowess showed in his written word and just might have gotten him in trouble in exiting the show “Top Gear” completely, the very fact that he knows his stuff about everything and anything auto makes him a hard person to ignore.

He’s been an auto columnist for ages now. He, in fact, started writing for his own agency, the MPA (Motoring Press Agency) in 1984, conducting road tests of the latest prototypes for an honest and rather blunt review of the best out there for all consumers to know. Because of Jeremy Clarkson, many consumers know what types of automobiles to buy.

Now That’s a Figure We Can Stand By in the Automotive Industry

It’s not like he’s all about opinions, opinions, opinions. This is a man who can drive a car and formulate an assessment with the best of them. He’s driven Peugeots and Fiats as well as Granadas, Rovers and even Aston Martins. He’s had the pleasure of driving Lamborghini models and writing up reviews of those — so in other words, you’d be hard-pressed to find any reason not to believe in what this guy writes about.

Think about it. The guy raced the sunrise in a Jaguar clear across the continent for crying out loud!

Everything You Need to Know About Sergio Marchionne

Know this: Italians know their cars. They’ve known automobiles for decades, actually. And at the top of that fact is one man who remains as one of many influences in today’s auto industry: Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the Chairman of CNH Industrial. This is business and automotive inextricably linked beautifully, and that’s what makes the auto industry shine the most with advancements both technological and industrial.

Why Sergio Marchionne Is so Relevant in Today’s Auto IndustrySergio Marchionne

Listen up very closely: when it comes to the auto industry, it’s fickle. It’s delicate. Companies can drop like flies in mere seconds all because of lost money, recalls and other horrible calamities. Case in point: General Motors, Cadillac. And, of course, Chrysler, our faithful US automaker suffering for so many years without ever being profitable at all. The company did, in fact, file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a legal action taken by many companies or individuals for good reason.

Enter: Sergio Marchionne, a man with such clout to turn the Fiat Group around as one of the most prolific and fastest-growing corporations in the automotive industry. Fiat was dying, too, until Sergio Marchionne took the helm and grew company toward profitability back ion 2006, and it only took him two years to do it. It was then that he turned his attention to strategic alliances to maximize profitability and get more of a competitive footprint in the auto market saturated with such competition — enter, Chrysler, another company struggling to get above the water.

And with the support of the U.S. and Canada governments along with trade unions, the merger was successful, bolstered by the success of Fiat, that Chrysler rose from the ashes as well, paying off those government bankruptcy loans; and before you know it, Sergio Marchionne gained a foothold on the American market in a big way, creating the new holding company we all know in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, a company with success today and the seventh largest automotive manufacturer globally.

Recognize the Importance of Sergio Marchionne

Think about it. This guy literally generated enough business, revenue, profit and competition to raise two companies from the grave to be major heavy hitters in the industry. Two. You can bet this is a man capable of making change in the automotive industry, which is why Sergio Marchionne is so relevant today.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Bernie Ecclestone

Some may call him a troll (and if the camera catches him right, he most certainly does look like one). If he is one, he’s a very rich one, though, not ever having to live under a bridge and charging those passing by some coins or be eaten. Bernie Ecclestone is a global empiric mogul Luke Skywalker might actually have some trouble with, but understand one thing about Bernie when it comes to the auto industry: what he says, goes. Period.

Why Bernie Ecclestone Is a Major Headliner of a Massive Portion of the Auto Industry as WeBernie Ecclestone Know It

We love cars. We love them so much that we’re willing to sit and watch a bunch of them racing around a circle for a couple hours. This is a major portion of our interest to drive, and lends a hand to some of the performance value we expect as one Jeremy Clarkson would attest to. So when this guy, a British business magnate and chief executive of the Formula One Group steers the major corporation toward all sorts of profitability and pockets a portion of that dough to be labeled the big “F1 Supremo,” you know you have an influence in the auto industry like many others in 2015.

Bernie Ecclestone did compete in F1 racing, just so you know. He wasn’t that good, though. We would guess that’s what turned him into a manager for such professional drivers as Stuart Lewis-Evans and Jochen Rindt, but he transcended the business even further after purchasing the Brabham team, running it for about a decade and a half. Merchandising, media, and logistics: his expertise to grow F1 racing into one of the richest sports on the planet certainly earned him the title he still to this day has.

Just Another Reason Why There’s Big Bucks in the Auto Industry

When we consider purchasing a new a car, we’re contributing to an industry lining the pockets of every F1 professional driver — and ultimately, this emperor Bernie Ecclestone. There’s something to be said about a guy who can steer an industry toward entertainment, publication and global advertising. Again, we attest: we love cars. Everyone loves cars.

Everything You Need to Know About Mary Barra

Aside from the fact that Mrs. Mary Barra is the first female CEO of a major global automaker — a feat all in its own and worthy of being on a list of auto influences for 2015 — you’ve got a professional here who’s so public that we’d be skeptical to find just about anyone who might not have heard of her name in Michigan. She’s the CEO of General Motors, basically — and her aggressive task is to get GM back on the board for the auto industry in terms of competition and quality. She’s doing a pretty good job, actually.

A Breakdown of Mary Barra From the Very BeginningMary Barra

She didn’t just land in that role, though, by randomness, replacing the former CEO back in 2014, and certainly didn’t just blindly accept a featyre with Time Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” Mary Barra did start off small, as many hopeful professionals do, at the age of 18, working for GM as a co-op student in 1980 in quite a few engineering and administrative positions. Her work ethic led her to a management role at the Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly plant, and after becoming VP of Global Manufacturing Engineering in 2008, it was pretty clear that she was destined for even greater accolades.

In 2009, Mary Barra was promoted to VP of Global Human Resources, holding that for two years. She then was named Executive VP of Global Product Development after that. You seeing a trend here? Mary Barra has had her hand dipped in just about every aspect of GM from start to finish, earning her a place in the influences of the auto industry for 2015 without even a second glance.

Design, efficiency, operations, manpower, technology, logistics — you name it. She’s had her hand in it. Needless to say, she became full-on CEO of the entire corporation, and the rest is history as she helmed full public protocol and damage control for an issuance of 84 safety recalls, which included 30MM vehicles. She even presided over the U.S. Senate to testify about such recalls and deaths due to the faulty ignition switch on said automobiles. And she did it all with poise, candor, and professionalism. Without even a flinch.

That Is What We Call a Trendsetter in the Auto Industry

There’s a reason why even Forbes listed her as one of the world’s most powerful women — three times. She, in fact, rose from the 35th spot to the seventh spot in 2013. 2014 was a hallmark year for her with Forbes, and we can only speculate where she’s going to be in terms of global power and influence in the auto selection market for 2015. She’s accomplished all of this because of one thing: she’s not afraid to go public and represent her company with gusto. That takes some major spine in the chassis, we think!

Everything You Need to Know About Elon Musk

Talk about superheroes making the likes of the Man of Steel blush and Mr. Tony Stark mad with jealousy along with his Avengers buddies. The auto industry really is an empire filled with superpowers and dare-to-dream initiatives ripe for the taking like Lexus’s hoverboard and the advent of 3D printing a real-life automobile (we’re not kidding). At the forefront of this automotive advancement and technology — which already exists in ways we can’t even comprehend, really — is just one man. One man who may arguably sit at the top of a very important list of influences in the auto industry. His name is….

Elon Musk: Our Very Own “Iron Man” of the Automotive IndustryElon Musk

He’s actually been called that before, believe it or not. This is a man not only pioneering the very possible idea of colonizing Mars with SpaceX and even proposing a concept called Hyperloop (a high-speed transportation system you’d have to see to believe, and even then you might not believe it along with the likes of Uber’s Travis Kalanick)…. But potentially revolutionizing the auto selection market with Tesla Motors, a major player in the green manufacturing regime of electric vehicles.

We don’t have to be in the know when it comes to electric cars. We’re seeing them already. Gasoline-powered automobiles may be going the way of the Dodo, and that’s fine. But when you’ve got a man like Elon Musk delivering the very first electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster, and a slew of other revolutionary prototypes paving the way to a new auto industry, plus remarkable electric powertrain systems sold to Daimler, Mercedes, and Toyota, it’s pretty clear — this is the man, Elon Musk, ushering in the new era of automotive manufacturing and transportation in a big way. No question.

He Also Is a Co-Owner of PayPal

You know, that online payment service. Yep, that’s Elon Musk for you. Can you imagine Iron Man managing payment accounts with a smartphone (a smartphone that can also drive, perhaps)? The future’s coming, and Elon Musk leads the way.