Posted by: David Kiley on May 28, 2008
When Steve Wilhite called to tell me he was headed to Jumpstart Automotive Media to be the firm’s new president, I said, “Congrats…it’s about time you got a real job.”
Wilhite was COO of Hyundai’s U.S. division for about a year until he left last year. Before that he was chief marketing officer at Nissan working out of Tokyo. He made his name, though, as the architect of Volkswagen’s marketing renaissance in the late 1990s.
At Hyundai and Nissan, Wilhite’s skills were misunderstood and under appreciated. He is one of those rare people in the industry who knows all aspects of the car business, having been in regional and field sales for VW going back to the 1970s, but also understands marketing better than most.
Jumpstart is a fast growing online media company whose practice focuses on the auto industry—maximizing traffic to Internet publishers and the advertising opportunities and return-on-investment for advertisers.
It is an extremely hot area for both publishers and auto companies as more marketing expenditures are going to the web.
It will also allow Wilhite in his new position to work with any and all of the car companies, rather than being mired in the politics of just one at a time.