David Champion, the public face of Consumer Reports automotive testing, is returning to Nissan. The carmaker has hired CR's former auto test center senior director and given him a newly created job: Executive Advisor, Competitive Assessment and Quality. Champion worked for Nissan from 1994-1997 as a quality assurance engineer, before moving into the world of publishing.
Consumer Reports is the 800-pound-gorilla of automotive testing: Exalted by the mainstream, feared by automakers, and often reviled by enthusiasts. While that's unlikely to change after Champion's departure – after all, the institute's reputation goes largely unchallenged due to a dearth of legitimate competition – we do wonder how Nissan will respond to having a former outsider in its midst. At least we imagine Champion is being cast in the role of provocateur when he heads to Nissan's Arizona Testing Center.

While Nissan is clearly doing a pretty good job with product right now – given both its growing sales and our esteem for a number of its recent models, from GT-R to the Juke and Altima – insularity and myopia always seem to be lurking in the next product development cycle. These terrible twin traits have historically proven to afflict even the most esteemed automakers, often when they seem most impervious. A plum gig for Champion this may be, but he will no doubt have his work cut out for him.

Scroll down to read the full press release from Nissan, as well as a statement from Consumer Reports.
Show full PR text
Nationally Recognized Consumer Advocate David Champion to Join Nissan

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Nissan, which currently is launching five new vehicles in 15 months, today announced the hiring of former Consumer Reports Auto Test Center Senior Director, David Champion, for the newly created position of executive adviser, competitive assessment and quality.

Champion will report to Steve Monk, director, vehicle evaluation and testing and chief marketability engineer for Nissan Technical Center North America, and he will be based at its Arizona Testing Center. His work also will align closely with customer satisfaction efforts overseen by Carla Bailo, senior vice president, research and development. Champion's hiring marks his return to Nissan, where he served as a quality assurance engineer from 1994 to 1997, working to identify and correct customer dissatisfiers.

"David Champion's unique industry background will help ensure that the customer's voice is evident in every product we engineer," said Bailo. "His experience in developing robust testing methods will help Nissan keep pace with the increasing complexity of our products and stay focused on continually improving our customer satisfaction ratings."

Champion will play a key role in Nissan's focus on quality improvement for which the company has been increasingly recognized. Nissan and Infiniti were among the most improved brands in J.D. Power and Associates' 2012 Initial Quality Study that ranks new-vehicle quality. In the 2012 Customer Satisfaction Index Study, which surveys customers' satisfaction with dealer service departments, Nissan scored the largest improvement in the industry. In 2011, Nissan also made the largest improvement for any volume automaker in the history of the J.D. Power Sales Satisfaction Index Study that asks consumers for their impression of the dealership where they just purchased a vehicle.

Prior to his roles at Consumer Reports and Nissan, Champion was a principal engineer at Land Rover of North America, where he established remote test facilities throughout the United States and Canada. Champion earned dual bachelor's degrees at University of Aston, Birmingham, England, in mechanical engineering and metal and material science.

Champion joins Nissan on Sept. 10.

Statement from Consumer Reports:

"We wish David Champion all the best as he moves on to pursue a new opportunity and we're grateful for his contribution to the organization. He has helped transform Consumer Reports' Auto Testing operations during his 15 years here and become an influential voice in the autos space. We are especially proud of his tireless work to promote auto safety and helping make the nation's roads safer," said Liam McCormack, Vice President, Technical Director, for Consumer Reports.

Two of the senior engineers from CR's Auto Test program, Jennifer Stockburger and Jake Fisher, have been promoted from Program Manager to Director and are assuming David's responsibilities.

Stockburger will be responsible for the day-to-day running of CR's test track and for the child car seat and tire testing programs. Fisher will oversee CR's extensive vehicle testing operations at the Auto Test Center, the largest independent consumer automobile testing center in the world.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 17 Comments
      gnvlscdt23f
      • 2 Years Ago
      Congrats to David and all, but honestly I'm glad that Jennifer and Jake are taking the position. David can make some Biden-style statements.
      MAX
      • 2 Years Ago
      Proof Consumer Reports is hardly impartial. Faux News of car ratings, preaching to the anti-American choir.
        FoxJ30
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MAX
        Oh, so you mean GM's not stupid for not benchmarking the competition when they were developing the new Malibu? I'm actually surprised this is a new position. Every company should know exactly where their products stand in relation to their competitive set.
        Yeah yeah
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MAX
        OK, I'll bite. How does Nissan hiring a CR staffer away from CR prove that Consumer Reports is not impartial?
        wasp
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MAX
        What is faux news? do you use that around friends? do they pat you on the back when you say faux news? you must be so cool!
        Car Guy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MAX
        Faux News -- you mean what they broadcast on MSNBC?
      Walt
      • 2 Years Ago
      Translation - he'll be handing out the pay-o-la money to auto publications for Nissan. Proof? Juke coverage.
        Yeah yeah
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Walt
        The Juke? Consumer Reports rated it 15th out of 20 small SUVs. Well, actually it tied for 14th with the Outlander Sport. Has the Juke gotten so big coverage in Consumer Reports that I don't recall?
        Gubbins
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Walt
        You have NO idea what you're talking about--what "proof" do you have? Tell us wise oracle, how much money is handed out? To whom? Have you seen it/documented it? Nothing like unsubstantiated accusations eh?
      Cool people
      • 2 Years Ago
      Consumer's are gelable reports, is a joke
      throwback
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Executive Advisor, Competitive Assessment and Quality." Translation, "the guy in charge of getting good CR ratings."
      BEEEAMMERRR_GUY
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't care about CR, but this job he's getting is a dream job. I would kill for a job like this. Somebody pick me up! I'll work for minimum wage. "Executive Advisor, Competitive Assessment and Quality. "
      Henry
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you wonder why Nissan hired him, you only need to review this J.D. Power Initial Quality Study highlights infotainment woes, puts Lexus on top. Link: http://www.autoblog.com/2012/06/20/j-d-power-initial-quality-study-highlights-infotainment-woes-p/. Do you see where Nissan ranked? Even below Mazda. Now that's a wake up call.
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