Although he had been gone from Mitsubishi Motors North America for more than a year, former CEO Pierre Gagnon says he was waiting for the right opportunity to move on to another auto maker when Visionary Vehicles LLC came along.
Visionary founder Malcolm Bricklin has hired Gagnon to head North American sales and distribution of the vehicles to be built by Chery Automobile Co. Ltd. and imported into the U.S. from China beginning January 2007.
Gagnon calls Bricklin's goal of selling 250,000 units in the first year of operation and 1 million units annually by the fourth year “very achievable.”
Bricklin says prior to hiring Gagnon, he wanted one of Toyota Motor Corp.'s top three U.S. executives to head Visionary's North American sales operations, but he was ultimately sold on Gagnon's past experience with General Motors Corp.'s Saturn brand.
Gagnon already has met with a half-dozen dealers interested in taking on Bricklin's proposal to build $15 million showrooms with test tracks, no sales people and a drive-in movie theater.
Bricklin says he has many more executive positions to fill, telling Ward's a “very major” person at a top financial company soon will be brought on board as Visionary's president.