New CEO Hired at V-Vehicle, Now Called Next Autoworks

V-Vehicle, the San Diego-based automotive startup whose investors include Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, and T. Boone Pickens, has a new name and a new CEO. The company, which has been rechristened Next Autoworks, named former Tower Automotive CEO Kathleen Ligocki as chief executive earlier this week. Next Autoworks also has operations in Detroit and northeastern Louisiana, where the company hopes to hire 1,400 workers to manufacture its gasoline-powered, four-door compact at a former Guide Corp. plant in Ouachita Parish.

At Tower, Ligocki led a restructuring of the global automotive supplier that culminated in its sale for $1 billion to Cerberus Capital Management. Ligocki, who also served as CEO of GS Motors, replaces Ray Lane, the Kleiner Perkins partner who stepped in as interim CEO at the end of March, after the U.S. Department of Energy rejected V-Vehicles application for $320 million in loans under the agency’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program. Founding CEO Frank Varasano and Horst Metz, the vice president of assembly operations, departed the company at the time.

David Langness, a spokesman for V-Vehicle in Los Angeles, declined to discuss the status of the revised DOE application the company submitted. “It’s up to the DOE to make that announcement,” Langness said.

Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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