Chrysler taps Murtaugh, once GM's China boss
September 10, 2007 - 12:01 am ESTcars and parts in low-cost Asia.
Chrysler LLC hired Murtaugh last week as CEO of its Asia operations, including China and India. He had been executive vice president for overseas operations at SAIC Motor Corp. of China.
A prime task will be to work with Chery Automobile Co., which has launched a program to build small cars for Chrysler worldwide. Chery cars are expected to be sold in the United States in late 2009 with Dodge nameplates. Next year, Chery-built Dodges will be sold in Latin America.
"Growth in international markets and leveraging partnerships are cornerstones of the Chrysler Recovery and Transformation Plan," says Tom LaSorda, now co-president and vice chairman of Chrysler and architect of the Chery deal.
Chery's challenge is daunting. With help from Chrysler and global suppliers, it will try to develop a competent, inexpensive car that can meet all U.S. safety and emissions standards.
Murtaugh, 52, is widely respected in China. As CEO of the GM China Group from 2000-05, he helped build GM's highly profitable operations there.
He left GM amid reports that he wanted more independence in China than GM's headquarters was willing to provide. He also had little interest in working for GM in Detroit.
He joined SAIC, a top Chinese automaker, in June 2006.