Hooniverse Asks: Which car company would you work for?


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

33 Comments

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

  1. 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.

          1. Thanks! The whole series is enjoyable, albeit somewhat repetitive so as to make each one work by itself. I met the author with his prototype Cyclops II at the 2010 Microcar/Minicar World Meet, which is also when I discovered that I don’t really fit inside a standard-sized Cyclops II. The driving positions illustrated in the foreground above are all too true.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

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

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

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

  6. 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.)

    1. 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.

  7. 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…

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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