Stephen M. Saleen
Stephen M. Saleen, founder has been president and CEO of SMS Signature Cars, Inc. since its formation in July, 2007. He has been board chairman and CEO of Saleen Automotive, Inc. since its formation in July 2011.
Mr. Saleen is considered one of the most successful and well known automotive legends in the country. He was born and raised in Southern California, which has been the home of the “hot Rod” culture for decades. Like many of his peers, he was inspired by the performance and muscle car era of the time.
Mr. Saleen’s entrepreneurial business plan laid the groundwork for an entire new industry of design, engineering, manufacturing, and sales of high performance vehicles that were race proven and marketed for sales through showrooms nationwide; this included very successful racing programs featuring himself as a lead driver in vehicles of his design that went on to win numerous national championships.
Mr. Saleen’s approach to tie in the marketing with vendors created a never before seen collaboration of race proven parts that were subsequently used for the street cars. Mr. Saleen is recognized worldwide for his expertise in small volume vehicle manufacturing, vehicle certification processes and mass customization – creating customized products in an efficient mass – production manner. From humble beginnings in a 3 car garage to an expansive network for multiple manufacturing plants and distributions centers in North America and Asia, Mr. Saleen dominated the automotive landscape with his much respected brand.
Saleen Mustangs, Sportrucks, Saleen SSC, Saleen S351 and S281 led the way for the truly innovative and world class “Great American Supercar”, the Saleen S7, which is the most successful supercar to date, having won races at virtually every major racetrack in the worked, including Daytona (US), 24 Hours of LeMans (France), Silverstone (England), Monza (Italy), and Nurburgring (Germany). Other significant accomplishments are the engineering, development and subsequent manufacturing of Ford Motor Company’s supercar, the Ford GT (40), paint and sub-assembly of the Dodge Viper, the supercharged Harley Davidson Ford F150 and the construction of the first “running’ Camaro for its introduction in the movie “Transformer”. Numerous Hollywood films have featured Saleen vehicles such as “Fast and Furious”, “Bruce Almighty”, “Transformers” (as the Decepticon “Barricade”) and “Ironman”.
As the “History Channel” program pointed out, Steve Saleen is part of a trio of “legendary” performance car builders alongside Enzo Ferrari and Ferdinand Porsche. Mr. Saleen has a bachelors degree in business from the University of Southern California.
Sven Etzelsberger (VP Advanced Engineering) has a background in mechanical engineering. He has lead and contributed to engineering teams worldwide including: R&D at Porsche Germany & Porsche LA Studio, Fisker Karma Chief Engineer. His methodical approach combined with a diverse background in advanced technologies provides him the ability to move quickly through new R&D projects into a production ready environment.
Molly Saleen has been director of the retail division of SMS Signature Cars, Inc. since its formation in July 2007. She has been director of Saleen Automotive, Inc. since June 2012.
As Steve Saleen’s daughter Molly grew up in an automotive and racing environment which proved to be a unique and valuable experience. She spent many summers at racetracks around North America and Europe attending her father’s races and learning from the “ground up” about motorsports and marketing. From cleaning wheels, checking tire pressures and handing out posters, she developed her racing spirit. By the age of 15 she had the opportunity to experience everything from kart racing schools to the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. The first car she learned to drive was a 510 HP Saleen S351, in which she took her test for her Driver’s License. Molly knew she wanted to be a part of her father’s life as an automotive pioneer.
In the early 2000’s, Steve Saleen began development on the Saleen S7. He needed a code name prior to its release and aptly named it “The Molly Project.” The S7 has since set the benchmark for “America’s Supercar,” both on and off the track.
In July of 2006 “The Saleen Store” was opened to the public. This unique retail store included aftermarket parts, apparel and accessories as well as Saleen vehicles. This never before seen approach to new car sales was another creation by her father that has set a new standard for automotive retailing. Molly served as the store’s General Manager since its inception. Among other honors, the store was named by “Maxim” magazine as the #1 Automotive Store in the United States. Ms. Saleen’s drive and determination made the store a great success and a “must see” destination for all car enthusiasts.
Determined to learn the family business from the ground up, Molly joined her father in 2007 with his SMS Supercars concept. With Molly at the helm of retail marketing, SMS Supercars has successfully implemented production on all new models, and received industry recognition with the release of its’ patented ultra efficient SMS 296 Supercharger system.
On her own time, Molly has been designing a women’s racing inspired fashion line. Launched in 2012, “Molly Pop” takes its design cues from Molly’s automotive and racing roots and artfully integrates them into a fun and fashionable form. Ms. Saleen has an associate degree from the University of Arizona and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California.
Sean Smith (Lead Designer) has a background in automotive conceptualization and OEM design. He has instruction and led courses at Art Center College of Design and utilized his leadership skills in art direction, pre-production, and production environments for automotive OEM's, software, and consumer goods segments. His educated approach to vehicle design tied with the ability to understand and clearly communicate design intent from digital modeling through production sets him apart from his peers and provides for a final result that maintains the original integrity of the design.