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VOL. 37 | NO. 49 | Friday, December 06, 2013
VW replaces head of struggling US division
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Automaker Volkswagen said Thursday it's replacing the head of its U.S. division, which has struggled to reach sales goals.
The company said Jonathan Browning, 54, is leaving his job as president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America "for personal reasons and returning to the U.K."
His replacement is Michael Horn, 51, the company's global head of after-sales service, repair and components.
Through November, U.S. sales for the Volkswagen brand have fallen more than 5 percent to just under 374,000, while the overall market has grown more than 8 percent.
This year's decline came after VW sales skyrocketed more than 30 percent in 2012. But it has lagged this year as overall U.S. sales increased. The company's top-selling models weren't able to match up to other automakers in two of the most highly competitive segments of the industry. Sales of the compact Jetta sedan fell 4.4 percent, while Passat midsize sedan sales declined 2.1 percent through November, according to Autodata Corp.
Horn joined Volkswagen in 1990 and became head of sales for Europe in 2004, before taking on the role of global after-sales head in 2009.
The company also said Ludger Fretzen, the head of Volkswagen and Audi brands in Spain, will succeed Terence Johnsson as its head of passenger car brand sales for North America.
Volkswagen AG, based in Wolfsburg, Germany, makes cars under the Volkswagen, Audi, and Bentley brands, among others. It has a factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee and has its U.S. headquarters in Herndon, Virginia along with administrative offices in Auburn Hills, Michigan.