general manager Jill Lajdziak spent several months this summer and fall working closely with Roger Penske and his staff, trying to iron out the details of the brand's proposed purchase from General Motors. As we all know, that agreement fell apart when Renault's board of directors vetoed a deal to supply cars to a Penske-owned Saturn. When GM decided to shutter Saturn, Lajdziak promptly announced that she would retire from General Motors at the end of this month.
Apparently, in spite of the Saturn deal's collapse, Penske was impressed by Lajdziak and has now hired her to take over sales and marketing at another of his enterprises, Smart USA.
Lajdziak will become VP of Smart USA on January 1, and
will have quite a challenge in front of her. Smart sales have gone into free fall of late. For the year, sales are down 38 percent, and in recent months, they've dipped as much as 70 percent. It seems that everyone who wanted one of the tiny two-seaters has now bought one.
[Source: Automotive News
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