Top sales but Merc US boss fired
NEW YORK - German automaker Daimler says the head of its Mercedes brand in the US has been fired despite September being the brand's best US sales month yet.
Daimler spokesman Han Tjan said CEO Ernst Lieb would leave immediately and the brand's US business operations would be handled by Herbert Werner, chief financial officer and vice-president of finance, controlling and IT.
Tjan said the company would have no further comment on why Lieb, 56, was being removed. He had headed the US operation since 2006 and before that was president and CEO of then DaimlerChrysler Australia/Pacific and president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada in 1995.
Mercedes-Benz USA, based in New Jersey, reported its best-yet US sales figure in September - 23 897 units, up 15.6% from a year earlier.
In the first nine months of 2011, Mercedes-Benz sold 183 711 vehicles, an 11.1% increase over the same period in 2010 and in August the now deposed Lieb told reporters he predicted Mercedes would be the US's best-selling luxury brand in 2011, beating BMW by ab out 5000 units.
The Detroit News reported that Lieb was recently in New Orleans to announce Mercedes' 10-year naming rights on the city's Superdome - a deal reportedly worth around $55-million