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Movers & Shakers: BAJA FORGED Announces New Partnership

BAJA FORGED Announces New Partnership

Baja ForgedBAJA FORGED has announced a strategic partnership with Forged Authority.

“BAJA FORGED has been looking for someone as a one-stop shop, from helping with CAD designs, to a finished product that is kitted and ready to ship within the U.S.,” said Theresa Contreras (second, left), CEO/co-founder/designer, BAJA FORGED. Contreras has produced award-winning SEMA Show vehicles and made a name for the BAJA FORGED brand globally along with COO Jason Contreras.

“As we are still a boutique brand, we love having a niche that speaks to our customers,” Theresa said. “Our products are fully off-road-capable, but you’ll notice the ‘look first’ as our contoured lines and compound rolls and bends enhance the vehicle’s appearance as if it were a concept vehicle from the factory.”

The goal is to supply product to customers more efficiently and on a larger scale while remaining committed to quality. This newly announced joint venture with Wesley Poole (left), president/founder of Forged Authority and 2019 SEMA Launch Pad finalist, is more than fitting for the manufacturing veteran, according to Theresa.

Forged Authority is currently expanding its manufacturing capabilities to produce BAJA FORGED products and deliver them to the masses. Along with the announcement of BAJA FORGED and Forged Authority coming together, Ian Lehn (right), CEO/founder of BOOSTane and 2014 SEMA Launch Pad winner, will join the Forged Authority team as vice president. An engineer by trade but an entrepreneur at heart, Lehn will help facilitate the growth of this collaboration.

“Building businesses through innovation and great people is something near and dear to me. I am really excited to come on board at Forged Authority and help drive these brands to new heights,” Lehn said.

Subaru of America Inc. Announces Key Executive Changes

Thomas Doll
Thomas Doll

Subaru of America Inc. (SOA) has announced a change in its top management structure. Effective April 1, Thomas J. Doll, president and CEO, will step down from the day-to-day management of the company and will assume the role of corporate advisor based at the Camden headquarters.

Also effective April 1, Tadashi "Tady" Yoshida will be promoted to the role of chairman and CEO of Subaru of America Inc. from his current position of executive vice president. Yoshida is a 34-year veteran with Subaru Corp. (SBR) and he has been with SOA for two years. He previously held executive positions within SBR in overseas sales and marketing, global marketing and the customer service division.

In addition, Jeffrey A. Walters, currently senior vice president of sales, will be promoted to president and COO. Walters has more than 30 years of experience with SOA. Prior to his promotion to senior vice president in 2014, Walters worked as vice president, field operations. Previously, he served as director, field operations, regional sales manager and brand strategy manager.

Under Doll's leadership, SOA experienced unprecedented growth. Since being named executive vice president and COO in 2009, and subsequently president in 2013 and CEO in 2018, he led Subaru of America to 12 consecutive years of sales records from 2008 to 2019 when the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic shut down production. A more than 40-year veteran of SOA, Doll also served as CFO, vice president of business and strategic planning, director of accounting, director of treasury operations and manager of treasury operations.

Ford Increasing Production of Electric, Gas, Hybrid Vehicles

Ford Bronco Sport

Ford is increasing production at manufacturing plants across North America to meet strong customer demand for vehicles, including Mustang Mach-E, F-150 Lightning, Bronco Sport and Maverick. The company is also preparing to launch all-new versions of four significant vehicles in 2023: Super Duty, Ranger, Mustang and Escape.  

“We have had a strong start to 2023 sales and we are moving to fast-track quality production,” said Kumar Galhotra, president, Ford Blue. “Increasing production benefits both our customers and our business.”

In February, Ford’s U.S. market share increased by 1.4 percentage points to 13.3%, powered by a 21.9% sales increase.

Mustang Mach-E: Ford began increasing production of the Mustang Mach-E last week. Changes at the plant will allow Ford to nearly double its hourly production and bring its annual manufacturing run rate to a targeted 210,000 units by year's end. Mustang Mach-E helped propel Ford to No. 2 in U.S. EV sales in 2022, and is bringing new customers to Ford, with more than two-thirds of customers coming from other makes.

Bronco Sport and Maverick: Ford is increasing production for Bronco Sport and Maverick. Production is targeted to increase by more than 80,000 units this year, helping to meet demand in both North and South America. In the United States, Ford brand SUV sales totaled 777,770, up 4.6% in 2022 versus 2021, led by the Bronco family of vehicles. Maverick was the No. 1 small truck in America in 2022.

F-150 Lightning: In Michigan, production of the F-150 Lightning at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is on track to triple this year, targeting an annual production run rate of 150,000 by the end of 2023. The F-150 Lightning had sales of 3,600 through February, in addition to the 15,617 sales recorded in 2022. F-150 Lightning production will resume March 13. Overall, for the F-150 Lightning production increase, Ford is investing $2 billion across three plants in Michigan and adding 3,200 union jobs.

Transit and E-Transit: Also adding an additional crew in April is Kansas City Assembly Plant, which manufactures the Transit and the E-Transit vans. Ford is targeting an annual production increase of 38,000. Ford is investing $95 million and adding 1,100 union jobs as part of the production increase.

F-150 and F-150 PowerBoost: Ford is also looking at ways to increase production at the Dearborn Truck Plant of the F-150 gas and hybrid trucks to meet continued strong demand.

LIQUI MOLY Hires New Head of Media Relations International

Sina Ataei

With immediate effect, Sina Ataei is taking over responsibility for international press and media work at LIQUI MOLY. Over the past six years, the graduate journalist has successfully promoted the company’s international web and social media presence as content strategy lead. Now he succeeds Dr. Peter Szarafinski, who died unexpectedly last year.

Ataei gained extensive experience in international media work with other large companies in Munich, Berlin and Ulm. Since 2016, the Ulm-based expert has been contributing his expertise successfully to the lubricant specialist’s corporate communications. Most recently, he was responsible for the strategic orientation of all online activities there as content strategy lead. Ataei is now the point of contact at the German medium-sized company for journalists outside of German-speaking countries. His position supplements the head of media relations in the Germany, Austria and Switzerland region, which remains the responsibility of Tobias Gerstlauer. Both together comprise the press division within corporate communications at LIQUI MOLY.

Firestone Partners with Tread Lightly! to Promote Off-Road Ethics and Stewardship

Bridgestone Americas has announced its Firestone collaboration with Tread Lightly!, a national nonprofit organization with a mission to promote responsible recreation through stewardship programs and ethics education. Together, Firestone and Tread Lightly! will promote responsible and sustainable off-roading through cross-brand marketing and other activities to ensure Americans’ continued access to our nation’s natural spaces.

The collaboration will kick off with cross-brand social-media posts and newsletters. Tread Lightly! will train Firestone staff, agency partners, brand ambassadors and others on the organization’s philosophies, principles and practices. Firestone will host Tread Lightly! team members on its destination events throughout the calendar year, continuing the off-road ethics education curriculum. During the partnership, Tread Lightly! members will be eligible for rebates on select Firestone Destination products.

Feld Motor Sports Announces New Partnership With MAVTV

MAVTVFeld Motor Sports and MAVTV have announced a new multi-year deal with Monster Jam. The 2023 Monster Jam telecast schedule features 86 new episodes of Monster Jam coverage: 26 one-hour stadium event episodes, 20 episodes of Arenas in 30 and 40 episodes of Inside Monster Jam. More than 100 hours of classic Monster Jam episodes will also be aired. The 2023 broadcast team consists of veteran Monster Jam hosts Scott Jordan and Leslie Mears, Monster Jam driver Bari Musawwir and newcomer Adam Enticknap.

“Our partnership with MAVTV allows Feld Entertainment to air the largest amount of Monster Jam content in our broadcast history,” said Stephen C. Yaros, senior vice president of global media and supercross, Feld Entertainment. 

BendPak Announces Passing of Gary Henthorn

Gary Henthorn
Gary Henthorn

BendPak has announced the passing of Gary Martin Henthorn. He grew up working at BendPak, getting his start on the shop floor and working his way up through the years to vice president.

At a very young age, he mastered CNC machinery and CNC programming, all self-taught. Always trying to stay ahead of the curve, he encouraged BendPak to enter the robotic age. He spearheaded the company’s use of robotic welding and declared it his own personal achievement. Like his dad, entrepreneurship ran in his veins, and in 2008, he established a construction company called Henthorn Construction in Malibu, California. Next, he challenged the status-quo by entering the automotive equipment business with the launch of Garage Equipment Supply, Dannmar Equipment Inc. and MaxJax. Following his inventor passion, in 2014, he patented a two-post vehicle lift with opposing lift carriages.

BendPak has written an obituary, which can be found here.

Turbo Tint’s Greg Goodman Named IFA Franchisee of the Year

Greg Goodman, owner of the Turbo Tint store in Oklahoma City, has been named as one of the International Franchise Association’s Franchisees of the Year. Goodman was one of 97 recipients to receive the honor and was presented with the award on March 1 at the IFA’s 63rd annual convention in Las Vegas.

Goodman has been a franchise owner in the Moran Family of Brands system for more than 25 years. He owned an Alta Mere automotive accessories store beginning in 1997 before opening the nation’s first Turbo Tint location, a quick-service, automotive window tint installation franchise, two years ago. Additionally, Goodman plans to open his second store in Oklahoma City later this year. He is also an area developer who will open a total of five stores in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, as well as help open more franchise stores in throughout the region in the coming years.

The Franchisee of the Year Award Goodman received recognizes leading franchise owners from IFA member brands whose outstanding performance and contributions help protect, enhance and promote the franchise business model. Nominated by their parent company, individuals were selected for their service to their communities, fostering a strong and vibrant workforce, opening the doors for career growth and entrepreneurship and supporting their fellow franchisees.

Dodge Releases New Marketing Campaign for All-New Hornet

Dodge has released its new marketing campaign, “Swarming the Nation,” officially introducing the all-new Dodge Hornet with a full 90-second commercial for the all-new vehicle. The multimedia campaign for the all-new Dodge Hornet also features a 30-second version to run across television and 15-second teasers that have run across the Dodge brand’s social-media channels.

“As our first ever electrified performance vehicle to enter the market, the all-new Dodge Hornet signals that a new breed of electrified performance is here, and it is here to change the game," said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge brand CEO – Stellantis. "With looks, feel and performance that are pure Dodge, the Hornet offers the best driving dynamics, a full lineup of segment-exclusive performance features, the best standard technology, as well available Direct Connection factory-backed performance upgrades, the Dodge Hornet is uniquely positioned to shake up the mainstream compact-utility vehicle (CUV) segment.”

Hornet R/T also leverages the Dodge brand’s first hybrid powertrain to deliver the class-exclusive PowerShot, an on-demand feature that lets drivers tap into the maximum electrical power and reach 0–60 mph in 5.6 seconds. Standard AWD with dynamic torque vectoring, and available segment-exclusive features, including Brembo brakes and dual stage suspension, further enhance the overall driving experience.

ASE Education Foundation Partners With Goodguys to Promote Industry Education, Careers

ASEThe ASE Education Foundation and Goodguys Rod and Custom Association are joining forces to showcase the wide array of career paths available in the world of hot rodding and automotive service. Through this new program, the ASE Education Foundation, along with Goodguys and their partners, will work as a community to enlighten students from across the country about automotive careers with a focus on design and engineering, manufacturing, mechanical, fabrication, paint, marketing, media and sales disciplines.

“Goodguys events are ideal to bring together future professionals and the companies that drive the industry. Goodguys events are not only fun, but they give students the chance to learn about available educational, scholarship and career opportunities and interact with automotive professionals from diverse industry backgrounds.” said Mike Coley, ASE Education Foundation president. “The automotive service industry needs qualified talent more than ever and our new partnership with Goodguys will help publicize the industry’s need for a well-trained, better-prepared future workforce.”

The ASE Education Foundation and Goodguys will work with local area high schools to identify and recruit students interested in careers in the transportation industry and will schedule Fridays at select Goodguys events as a hands-on career exploration project. The students will start the day meeting with a panel of experts and top industry professionals. They will then be paired up with a mentor and participate in a scavenger hunt where they will track down businesses and learn about a wide variety of automotive careers. Students will receive a free ticket to the Goodguys event so they can attend over the weekend.

Meyer Distributing Announces a New Leader in the Traditional Truck Accessories Market

Meyer Distributing Inc. has promoted Jeremy Schnaus to category sales manager for Traditional Truck Accessories, the company announced. “It is invigorating to promote from within and exemplifies our staff’s motivation and dedication,” stated Cody Ziegler, vice president of sales for Meyer. “Jeremy’s enthusiasm, guidance and critical thinking is refreshing. Demand through our traditional truck category remains strong despite many economic variables. This requires someone who can effectively prioritize and analyze which made Jeremy a logical choice.”

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