An ex-BMW manager to run VW’s brand operations in North America image

Volkswagen has appointed a new head for the North American business of its core brand, as an effort to mend the US predicament.

Volkswagen’s US diesel crisis deepens every day, as a plan for fixing about 500,000 affected cars is not yet approved even after four months since the emissions scandal broke. And to make matter worse, there is no timetable for getting approval from the regulators after their last week rejection. On top of these, VW cannot sell its 2016 diesel models following the government’s ban. But Volkswagen’s struggle on the North American market has been going on for some time, as its core brand does not have proper crossover vehicles to compete into a segment on high demand in the US, leaving the door wide open for rivals to storm the niche.

The automaker seems to make some top management changes to address somehow its tricky market position, by choosing former BMW manager Hinrich Woebcken to run the North American business of its brand. Woebcken will take up his position at VW’s largest division by sales and revenue in April, also becoming Chairman of Volkswagen Group of America, Volkswagen Mexico and Volkswagen Group Canada. Until last year, Woebcken held a position on the executive board of Germany’s Knorr-Bremse Group for 15 months, a manufacturer of braking systems for rail and commercial vehicles. He joined BMW AG in 2004, first as Division Manager Technical Purchasing and later as Division Manager Purchasing Vehicle Contract Manufacturing, Raw Materials Management, Indirect Purchasing. He was subsequently appointed Division Manager Driving Dynamics for all BMW Group product lines.