Spyker hires ex-Aston Martin U.S. boss
Spyker, the Dutch supercar maker that bought Saab from General Motors Co., has appointed John Walton, Aston Martin's former U.S. boss, as its chief commercial officer and head of its Americas unit.
Walton, 53, will take up the position immediately and report to Spyker CEO Victor Muller, the company said.
As vice president of Aston Martin in North America, Walton saw sales grow from 200 cars in 2001 to more than 2,400 in 2007, making it the most successful market for the company.
The British national is also credited with a key role in the launch of the DB7 grand tourer, which helped revive Aston Martin's fortunes.
"I met John Walton 16 years ago at Aston Martin and since we established Spyker in 2000, I have had the wish to get him on board to help us build the company and the brand,'' Muller said in a statement on Wednesday.
Walton began his automotive career with Ford Motor Co. in 1980 before taking a number of senior positions with automotive suppliers Unipart and Rossion Automotive.
He joined Aston Martin as general manager with responsibility for parts and distribution before moving to sales where he held various positions heading global, North American, and Europe and Middle East sales.
Walton joins Spyker as the automaker seeks to turnaround its fortunes with plans for a luxury SUV.
Walton joins Spyker amid attempts to revive the supercar maker after the high-profile failure of Muller's attempt to turn Saab into a profitable company.
Spyker bought Saab from GM in 2010 for $74 million. In December 2011, the Swedish automaker was put under the control of bankruptcy administrators after running into cash problems when its vehicle sales failed to meet targets.
Spyker, which sold only a handful of cars in 2011, is pinning its hopes on the success of a luxury SUV, the D8 SSUV, which was first shown at the 2006 Geneva auto show. The company is currently seeking 25 million euros to put the model into production.
On Monday, Spyker announced plans to sue GM for $3 billion accusing the U.S. automaker of deliberately driving Saab into bankruptcy by blocking a planned rescue deal with a Chinese investor.
Saab has been sold by administrators to a consortium called National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) for an undisclosed sum.
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