AUTO INDUSTRY

New job for Ewanick

Fisker Automotive Inc. said Joel Ewanick, the maverick marketer ousted by General Motors Co. in July, is joining the maker of luxury plug-in hybrid cars as interim chief commercial officer.

Ewanick, 52, replaces Richard Beattie, who is retiring, Anaheim, Calif.-based Fisker said.

Ewanick was pushed out as GM marketing chief after the carmaker determined he had failed to properly disclose about a third of the cost of a $559 million sponsorship arrangement with English soccer team Manchester United, according to people familiar with the matter. He’s since been working as a consultant for Fisker, where Chief Executive Officer Tony Posawatz, himself a former GM executive, took over in August.

Closely held Fisker is trying to boost sales of its $103,000 Karma and work out a plan to produce a second model, the lower-priced Atlantic, at a Wilmington, Del., factory the company acquired in 2010. In February, it suspended work on the Wilmington factory, which GM shed in its 2009 bankruptcy.

Fisker’s access to a portion of federal loans received for the project was cut off last year after the company failed to meet production and sales goals for the Karma.

Posawatz was vehicle line director for GM’s Volt from 2006 until July before joining Fisker.

electronics

Apple fallout continues

Apple Inc. has fired the manager responsible for its troubled mapping software, seeking to win back the trust of users disappointed after the program debuted in September, according to people familiar with the move.

Richard Williamson, who oversaw the mapping team, was pushed out by Senior Vice President Eddy Cue, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information wasn’t yet public. Cue, who took over last month as part of a management shakeup, is seeking advice from outside mapping-technology experts and prodding digital maps provider TomTom NV to fix landmark and navigation data it shares with Apple.

Critics have faulted Apple’s new map software for unreliable landmark searches, routes that get users lost and lack of public transit directions. Cue is seeking to build confidence in the program amid a growing battle with Google Inc., whose mapping application had been built into Apple’s iPhone since its introduction in 2007. Google is now preparing to unveil rival downloadable apps for Apple’s mobile devices.

While Apple’s map program doesn’t appear to have hurt sales of the iPhone 5, it was a rare public misstep that forced Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook to apologize to customers.

PUBLISHING

Self-publishing grows

A leading mainstream publisher and a top self-publishing company are teaming up.

Simon & Schuster and Author Solutions Inc. announced the creation of Archway Publishing, which will focus on self-published fiction, nonfiction, business and children’s books. Digital technology has helped lead to the proliferation of self-published books, with Sylvia Day and Amanda Hocking among those becoming best-selling authors. Archway will offer a range of services, from a basic $1,599 package that includes “editorial assessment” and “cover copy review” to a $24,999 “Outreach” program for business books that features an “author profile video” and a reception at BookExpo America, the industry’s annual national convention.

Archway places Simon & Schuster in an indirect business relationship with rival publisher Penguin Group (USA), which owns Author Solutions. The CEO of Author Solutions, Kevin Weiss, said that no Penguin officials will be involved in running Archway.

RETAIL

Wal-Mart drops supplier

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, has dropped a supplier that made apparel at a Bangladesh factory where more than 100 people died in the country’s deadliest-ever blaze at a garment facility. “The Tazreen factory was no longer authorized to produce merchandise for Walmart,” Kevin Gardner, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said in an emailed statement. “A supplier subcontracted work to this factory without authorization and in direct violation of our policies. Today, we have terminated the relationship with that supplier.” He declined to name the supplier.

The factory, owned by Tazreen Fashion Ltd., had no emergency exits, and many workers were burnt alive, as they got trapped in heavy smoke, said Muhammad Mahboob, a director at the Fire Service and Civil Defence. Some workers jumped from the eight-story building to escape the flames, according to Mohammad Sharif, who runs a local grocery store and whose parents-in-law worked at the plant. At least 124 people were killed in the fire on Nov. 24, said a police official.

Compiled from staff and wire reports