SAN MATEO, CALIFORNIA
Joel Manby, CEO of Saab Cars USA Inc. for four years, is moving on to the Internet world.
Manby, 40, became President of Greenlight.com, and online automotive buying service in San Mateo, California. Manby said his two main goals in his new job are to build 'a passionate dealer network' for Greenlight.com and to gain the support of the major automakers.
Throughout his career, Manby has worked on the dealership experience. After joining General Motors in 1981, he helped launch Saturn's established-price selling as a Saturn regional manager. He later left GM to manage several Saturn dealerships for dealer Al Serra in Grand Blanc, Michigan.
'Frankly, I'm more passionate about what customers go through in buying cars than the cars themselves,' he said.
In 1996, Manby became CEO of Saab Cars USA, the Atlanta, Georgia, sales arm of Sweden's Saab Automobile AB. Saab is a subsidiary of GM. Last year, Saab promoted hom to vice president of worldwide sales, marketing and retail network development.
Manby said his departure from Saab and GM was amicable. 'I just felt like I had done what I was asked to do' at Saab, he said. His achievement including stabilizing Saab's dealer network and boosting U.S. sales from 28,450 in 1997 to 39,541 in 1999.
'GM has been so good to me; I have nothing bad to say there,' he said.
Greenlight.com launched its buying service in several USA markets earlier this year and expects to roll out across the nation this spring. Greenlight.com allows customers to buy vehicles online from local dealerships and arrange delivery. Investors in Greenlight.com include dealer group Asbury Automotive Group, venture captial firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and online bookseller Amazon.com.