Cox Automotive names new chief economist


With Tom Webb set to retire on June 30, Cox Automotive named a new chief economist on Tuesday morning, while also announcing it is launching an economic industry insights office.

Cox Automotive’s new chief economist is Jonathan Smoke, who had most recently held the same position with Smoke has worked in the housing industry for 21 years.

Before his time with, Smoke was chief economist at media and market intelligence company Hanley Wood. He also served in various roles at Beazer Homes.

In his new post, he will report to Cox Automotive vice president of research and market intelligence Isabelle Helms.

“Jonathan will provide a fresh perspective as he offers analysis on the automotive industry and the economic and market trends that affect our clients’ business,” Cox Automotive president Sandy Schwartz said in a news release.  “Many parallels exist between the automotive and real estate industries, and Jonathan is perfectly positioned to offer actionable intelligence that will benefit our clients.”

Smoke said in the news release: “I’ve spent my career working with data to improve the understanding of market trends and how demand and supply come together in purchases that represent the largest investments most consumers make.

“I will help the company lead the industry with data-driven insights into what is happening and what the future holds," Smoke continued. "From wholesale to retail, new to used, manufacturer to dealer to consumer, I couldn’t ask for a better venue for visibility into the automotive marketplace.”

With the company creating an economic insights office, it has also hired Charlie Chesbrough as senior economist and senior director of industry insights.

He was most recently executive director and senior economist for Original Equipment Suppliers Association, and also spent time as senior principal economist and director of industry analysis at IHS Automotive.

Chesbrough will be based out of Detroit and report to Smoke. He will help create and lead the new Cox Automotive economic industry insights office.  Chesbrough will also lead the company’s auto forecasts and economic insights on the new-car side. 

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