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Hooniverse Asks: Which car company would you work for?

Kamil Kaluski December 14, 2017 Hooniverse Asks 33 Comments

At some point we all dreamed of running our own car company. Let’s get real, it isn’t happening. And if it was, a car company ran by someone like you wouldn’t last long. It’s because no one is really buying rear-wheel-drive V8 sport sedans, small mid-engine sports cars, small front-engine sports cars, small roadsters, or wagons of any kind. But proper off-road capable 4x4s might keep the lights on in the current environment. Whatever, it’s not happening.

But you can get a job at one of the existing companies.

Let’s say that you manage to land some cool job with an automaker, perhaps in product development. That position would allow you to drive, develop, and improve current and future products. You would be involved in every product the company makes from sports car, econoboxes, to boring sedans, cross-overs, and pickup trucks. You’d be allowed to dabble in all brands (take FCA or VAG, for instance) and non-automotive sub-brands (Honda, jet and power equipment). You could be involved in future technologies, too, such as electrified and autonomous vehicles. Finally, you can buy any of their products at a ridiculous discount.

Which car company would you work for?

Image: mechanical-engg.com

  • HuntRhymesWith

    It’s gotta be either Mazda (bring back the rotaries and the turbo Miata from the inside!) or a company with incredible design (Koenigsegg is the first that comes to mind).

    No, wait, does Singer count??? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3f2adce3fb8f8e6e54795eaeadcc4cddde9d9ef7b51b99574c72f08e18c72fa4.jpg

    • Rover 1

      You might do better with RUF, with their engineering concentration on new build over pure aesthetic rebuilds of used cars.

  • P161911

    Having been recently laid off and currently working a very short term contract job, I would work for anybody that paid halfway decent. Also, I would have to be reasonably sure that the paycheck wouldn’t bounce. Basically anyone above the Saleen or Panoz level. Not a rhetorical question as a mechanical engineer.

  • I’m pretty happy here in the Pacific Northwest, so, um, I dunno, is Palatov Motorsport hiring?

    https://cantrellmotorsport.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Palatovd2-4.jpg

    https://www.palatov.com/

    Commuter Cars in Spokane seems to have been rather quiet lately and I don’t find the weather over there to be as much to my taste anyway.

  • dukeisduke

    Sure. I’m thinking maybe Studebaker, or Hispano-Suiza.

  • Fuhrman16

    It’s gotta be AMC. AMC is still in business, right? Right!? #30yearsofdenial

    • dukeisduke

      Heck, even the buildings are gone (okay, except for the Detroit headquarters). #scorchedearth

      • outback_ute

        Jeep make a big deal about their Toledo factory which AMC would have owned

    • I’m having trouble finding a link to the current Nash lineup, but yeah, AMC is still around.

      https://www.kelvinatorcommercial.com/

  • Fred

    Lotus, Caterham, Morgan. Probably anyone who wasn’t bogged down by corporate. I worked as an engineer and liked going down the shop even if it was to fix one of my FUps.

  • The US American owner entities of my local employers have become bigger and bigger in my, well, career, and I sometimes miss the flexibility and solution-oriented thinking and acting a small company is forced to show. I also miss the inspiring personality of a guy in the same building who is pursuing something, a CEO five levels above me and 5kmls away is as abstract a figure as, say, Don Draper.

    For these reasons: Koenigsegg really needs a content strategy for their manuals and especially their IP. You can contact me every Friday in the Hooniverse News comments.

  • Borkwagen

    Toyota. Because I’d actually have job stability.

    • kogashiwa

      That, and the possibility of being involved with the next time Akio-san has a few glasses too many and decides to make another LFA.

  • As a 27 and a half year employee at Ford, I can not recommend it highly enough.

  • Rover 1

    Mercedes Benz. The right worldwide blend of design and marketing. People I know that get to work for them are always reluctant to leave.

  • kogashiwa

    Would have to be Toyota for me, so that I could agitate for a new MR2.

    It always comes back to that

  • Mr B

    Rolls Royce. Craftsmanship

    • cap’n fast

      oh! do they still build automobiles there?
      still building perfection into every product they push out the door. no matter what the cost.

  • Tylerd5079

    In my fantasy world, by the time I’m done my Mechanical Engineering training, the Bollinger B1 has entered production, and the company is able to offer reasonably stable jobs.

    http://bollingermotors.com/assets/img/compressed/0875_Bollinger_TopCarousel_01_86A2872_Resized.png

    Unfortunately, that’s rather unlikely.

    Otherwise, I’m going to echo others, in that I’d be willing to work for any stable, small auto company. Actually, I’d perfectly happy working for some aftermarket parts companies as well. I think designing new parts to make old cars better could be quite the challenging career.

    • Speaking from the inside, the aftermarket is an odd space. Either you have a committed distribution channel before you pay for the tooling, or you build on spec and hope to hell you read the market well enough not to lose your shirt. It’s a really, really tough balancing act. My employer pretty much sticks to the former nowadays. We’ve missed out on some decent opportunities because of it, but the company has managed to survive for 73 years while a lot of trendier, flashier companies have shot high and flamed out.

  • ptschett

    Honestly, I’m happy staying in off-highway heavy-equipment product development after 14 years of it. (It doesn’t hurt that as long as I work where I do I can buy FCA vehicles at FCA employee price thanks to shared corporate history into the 2010’s, though.)

  • Alff

    I’d be a designer so I could do one job and get paid by all of them.

    • outback_ute

      Like Pininfarina selling the same basic design to BMC, Peugeot, Lancia and possibly another? I’m thinking 404, Flaminia and 4 (?) BMC rebadged, from the late 50s. Plus the 164/405/605 in the 80s, which caused Peugeot to stop using them.

  • The Tuesday Answer* is Polaris. A savvy, ballsy company, and the people I’ve met from there seem like down-to-earth, honesty guys. Also, I wouldn’t mind moving back to the Twin Cities.

    My automotive answer is Mahindra. I would love to help them get a foothold in North America, and they might let me play around in Pininfarina’s sandbox.

    *Is “tuesday answer” too outdated to use? It’s been a long time since I’ve done motorcycle stuff on Tuesdays. Maybe I should start again? …naaah…

  • Victor

    I had a car company work for me once. Bought Ford stock at $2.45 and sold when it reached $14.00 two years later. Good times. Used some of the money to buy another Ford.

  • cap’n fast

    if the first paragraph was absolutely true, than Factory Five Racing wouldn’t be out there still in business. that company has people who go to work and bring their passion with them. that is the kind of car company which makes working for a paycheck enjoyable.

  • Sjalabais

    Right now?
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/28/Lotus_Cars_logo.png
    The company is at a turning point, with a great history, soon to be awash in cash, trying to connect to what they really are about while doing a modern interpretation of it…maybe the antithesis to the current digitization tendencies. Not the safest, but a super exciting working place, I guess.

  • ‘merica

    Peterbilt!