Volkswagen Appoints New CEO for Vw of America

by : Jason Moore



Amidst the less enthusiastic sales of the Volkswagen brand in the U.S. this year, the German automaker has decided a reshuffle in its top management. Volkswagen has already lost $827 million in North America last year.

Stefan Jacoby, 49, who has earlier headed global marketing and sales for the VW group, will become president and CEO of Volkswagen of America starting September 1. "The objective is to achieve further significant expansion in the position of Volkswagen and Audi on the U.S. market through attractive and competitive products," VW said in a statement Thursday, last week.

Jacoby is a former CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Europe. As future CEO of VW of America, he will succeed Frank Witter, 48, who is moving to Volkswagen Credit, where he will become co-president, sharing the post with Kevin Kelly, 60.

The news comes after the media has reported that the German automaker and world's fourth-largest carmaker is currently mulling over building a new North American factory if the dollar stays weak. Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn reportedly confirmed plans in an interview Saturday with German magazine Focus, saying, "If the dollar stays at its current level, one has to consider a factory in North America very seriously."

Winterkorn also added that Volkswagen - maker of quality , had not done very well in the United States up to now, and said that the company was hoping that planned new offices away from Detroit, the centre of U.S. auto manufacturing, would bring it closer to U.S. consumers.

Volkswagen currently has only one factory in North America, in Puebla, Mexico. The plant manufactures the Volkswagen Jetta and New Beetle cars as well as buses and trucks.

Volkswagen would produce more than 6 million cars this year, up from 5.7 million in 2006, Winterkorn said. A goal of 10 percent higher productivity was attainable this year, he added.

The euro is near an all-time high against the U.S. dollar and Japanese yen, making it difficult for European-made cars to compete with those produced in the United States and Japan and causing concern among some euro-zone politicians.

About Volkswagen of America
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Rabbit, New Beetle, New Beetle convertible, GTI, Jetta, GLI, Passat, Passat wagon, Eos, and Touareg through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers. Visit Volkswagen of America online at vw.com.