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SOUTHFIELD, Mich., June 23, 2010 – Steve Zimmer has been appointed executive director of the United States Council for Automotive Research LLC (USCAR) as announced by the USCAR Council (June 21). He succeeds retiring USCAR Executive Director Don Walkowicz effective July 1.

Zimmer comes to USCAR with 35 years of automotive experience, including 24 years at Chrysler and 10 years at Ford Motor Company. Most recently, he served as executive director of USAutoPARTS, following his retirement from Chrysler LLC in 2007. While at Chrysler, he served as its director for the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, a collaboration among the members of USCAR, the U.S. Department of Energy, five energy companies and two utilities. 

He began his involvement with USCAR in 1997 as Chrysler’s director for the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) and continued as that program transitioned to the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership. He also was Chrysler’s representative on the USCAR Leadership Group from 2004 through 2007.

“We are very pleased to welcome Steve back to USCAR, now as executive director,” said Gerhard Schmidt, USCAR Council member and chief technical officer/vice president of Research and Advanced Engineering at Ford Motor Company. Schmidt serves on the three-member governing USCAR Council with Steve Williams, vice president of Advance Engineering, Planning and Regulatory Affairs at Chrysler Group LLC, and Alan Taub, vice president of Global Research and Development at General Motors Company.

“Steve’s proven automotive leadership gives him the skills and experience needed to enhance and grow the U.S. automakers’ collaborative research and development, which are more critical than ever in helping to advance broad-sweeping automotive innovations,” Schmidt said. “In addition, Steve is well respected within industry and government, which will be an asset to USCAR in preserving and growing its important strategic partnerships.”

Zimmer began his automotive career at Ford and held various positions in its procurement and supply organization from 1973 through 1983. In 1983 he joined Chrysler’s procurement and supply organization and served in several director level positions until 1997 when he moved to Chrysler’s product development organization serving as director of Advanced Technology Portfolio Management and Government Collaborative programs until his retirement in 2007. While at Chrysler, Zimmer also served as chair and board member on the Automotive Industry Action Group, the Michigan Minority Business Development Council, and as co-chair of the 2008 SAE World Congress.

Zimmer has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Eastern Michigan University and is a graduate of the University of Michigan’s Executive Business Program.

“I look forward to directing the USCAR organization in conjunction with the USCAR Council and Leadership Group,” Zimmer said. “Already having worked with many USCAR participants, I feel I will hit the ground running. Succeeding longtime Executive Director Don Walkowicz will be both an honor and a challenge, but I’m ready to take the reins and bring my own style of leadership, along with some new ideas, to further advance USCAR along its established path of success.”

Founded in 1992, USCAR is the collaborative automotive technology organization for Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Company. The goal of USCAR is to further strengthen the technology base of the domestic auto industry through cooperative research and development.

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USCAR Executive Director Steve Zimmer