Audi outs China boss as demand drop lifts off image

Volkswagen Ag, the second largest automaker in the world and the biggest in Europe, counts on its Audi AG luxury division for a hefty portion of its profit, which means when things go south there the entire group is potentially in peril.

Audi announced it would move to replace its chief of Chinese operations, with the luxury brand struggling to reverse the downward sales trend in the world’s largest auto market and also its biggest. China for Audi is a key market, where it holds leadership and should have been adamant to the move to surpass BMW Ag for the leadership position in the premium segment by 2020. Audi announced in the July edition of in-house newspaper “Audi Mobil” that Joachim Wedler would take over from Dietmar Voggenreiter at the end of the year. The latter had been chief of Audi’s China unit since 2009. Wedler today is in charge of directing Audi’s plans on model lines. Audi is also in the midst of updating the 2015 sales goal of 600,000 units in China after deliveries were slowing during the first six months of the year, with June also bringing a 5.8 percent slide, the first in years.

The Ingolstadt-based automaker announced last week it would come up with the modified sales forecast for the entire year for China alongside its financial results for the first six months of the year, due out on July 30. According to research firm IHS Automotive, Audi – China’s best-selling luxury brand – might feel the heat from the slowing demand in the country faster in the coming years than its traditional rivals: BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Via Reuters