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VW picks Browning to head U.S. unit, reports say

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VW picks Browning to head U.S. unit, reports say

Staff & Wire Reports

Automotive News Europe -- September 12, 2010 18:23 CET

Volkswagen will name former General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. sales and marketing executive Jonathan Browning to head its U.S. operations, reports said Sunday.

Browning, 51, would succeed Stefan Jacoby, who left Volkswagen of America in June and last month became CEO of Volvo Car Corp.

VW issued a press release Sunday evening saying it would announce its new CEO for the U.S. unit in Washington on Monday. VW did not reveal the name of the new boss.

The Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the move, said Browing would get the job. Reuters also reported the appointment, citing an unnamed company source.

Success in the United States, the world's second-largest market after China, is a crucial part of VW's plans to topple Toyota Motor Corp. as the world's largest automaker before the end of the decade.

By 2018, VW of America wants to increase U.S. sales of VW and Audi brand cars to 1 million units. In 2009, VW of America sold 297,537 vehicles. VW wants global sales to rise to 10 million by 2018, up from 6.29 million vehicles last year.

Browning joined VW in June as head of the 10-brand group's national sales companies.

He resigned as head of GM's global sales, service and marketing in the summer of 2009 and left the company in October “to pursue other interests," GM said at the time.

He was also chairman of GM-owned Vauxhall Motors Ltd. and vice president of sales, marketing and aftersales for GM Europe.

While he headed European sales, GM launched its Chevrolet brand across the continent.

Browning, an Englishman, joined GM in 1981, working for Vauxhall, and later became managing director of GM Turkey. From 1997 to 2001, he was Ford Motor Co.'s head of European marketing and then managing director of Jaguar Cars Ltd.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100912/COPY/309129999/1193#ixzz0zQ5wV6yr

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Former GM exec Browning set to be named VW U.S. chief

September 13, 2010 09:36 CET

DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG plans to announce a new U.S. chief executive officer today to replace Stefan Jacoby, putting an end to a 2 1/2 month leadership vacuum at the division.

Jonathan Browning, a former General Motors Co. executive who joined VW in June, will be named CEO, said a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified before an official release. Stefan Ohletz, a VW spokesman declined to comment.

Browning, 51, was hired by VW in June to improve coordination of the carmaker's international sales companies. He was previously vice president of global sales, service and marketing at GM.

Browning's appointment coincides with the final phase of the introduction of a new Jetta compact, VW's best-selling American model. VW is preparing to open a factory in Tennessee and present its first car built exclusively for the U.S. market.

Volkswagen is heading for an eighth annual loss in the U.S. Reviving revenue and profit there is essential to CEO Martin Winterkorn's goal of surpassing Toyota Motor Corp. in size and profitability by 2018. He also wants to almost triple VW's share of the U.S. market to 6 percent by 2018 and boost deliveries to 1 million, including the Audi luxury unit.

“The U.S. is one of the key aspects of Volkswagen's strategy going forward,” said Mike Tyndall, a London-based automotive specialist at Nomura Securities.

“It's a market that's been underperforming and that they need to crack. It doesn't surprise me that they are choosing someone with U.S. experience,” he said.

Browning is a former chairman of GM's U.K.-based Vauxhall division and was the chief of Jaguar under Ford Motor Co. He worked for GM from 1981 to 1997 and returned to the Detroit automaker in 2001 after his stint at Ford.

Browning must boost VW sales in the U.S.

Christian Klingler, the VW board member in charge of sales, will announce the new U.S. CEO at the National Press Club in Washington at 11 a.m. local time today, according to an e-mailed invitation from Volkswagen Group of America Inc.

VW unexpectedly named Mark Barnes and Michael Lohscheller on June 24 to run the U.S. operations on an interim basis, saying at the time it was holding contract talks with Jacoby.

Jacoby, a VW veteran of 25 years, last month took over as CEO of Volvo Cars, the Swedish automaker that's now owned by China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co.

Next month, VW will start selling a new Jetta, VW's first model altered specifically for the U.S. market.

In the first eight months, VW boosted U.S. deliveries by 21 percent to 172,747. Jetta sales increased 6.6 percent to 76,338 cars, accounting for 44 percent of the total. Other models that posted gains included the Tiguan, Passat CC and Rabbit.

Browning will also have to capitalize on VW's $1 billion plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, scheduled to begin production in the third quarter of 2011, and lift sales by designing more models for the U.S.

By 2013, VW wants 85 percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. to be produced in Chattanooga and in an existing factory in Puebla, Mexico, where the carmaker plans to invest as much as $1 billion over three years.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100913/ANE/100919975/1317#ixzz0zQ7rLq6X

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Ex-GM exec Browning expected to head VW's U.S. division

By Detroit News staff and wires

Volkswagen AG is expected to announce today that Jonathan Browning, a former General Motors Co. executive who joined VW in June, will head the German automaker's U.S. operations.

Browning will replace Stefan Jacoby, who announced in June that he was leaving VW to run Volvo Cars for China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co.

The timing of Jacoby's departure was unfortunate for Volkswagen, which is investing $5 billion in North America to restore its presence in the region.

Volkswagen is building a $1 billion plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. The factory is scheduled to start producing an all-new VW-brand mid-size sedan designed for U.S. customers next year.

Volkswagen also has developed a new compact Jetta for the North American market that it will build in Mexico. It's expected to go on sale later this year.

Volkswagen is counting on the two cars and other new models to more than triple its VW-brand sales in the United States to 800,000 units by 2018.

It's aiming for total group sales, including Audi and other VW brands, of 1 million vehicles in the United States by 2018 -- when it hopes to be the world's largest car company.

Volkswagen is expected to announce Browning's appointment at a news conference in Washington today.

The company declined to confirm his appointment Sunday. But it said in an invitation that Michael Lohscheller, interim CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, and Volkswagen AG board member Christian Klingler would attend the conference to announce a new chief executive for Volkswagen Group of America.

Browning, 51, was hired by VW in June to improve coordination of the German carmaker's international sales operations. He was previously vice president of global sales, service and marketing at GM.

Browning was formerly chairman of GM's Vauxhall division -- the British sister brand of Opel.

He also worked for Ford Motor Co. as the head of its British luxury carmaker Jaguar.

Browning worked for GM from 1981 to 1997 and returned in 2001 after his stint at Ford.

Within the Volkswagen group, Browning's job in North America is critical. Despite previous plans to fix the North American business, Volkswagen's U.S. sales have never recovered to their peak levels in 1970. That year, VW sold close to 570,000 cars in the United States, but then steadily lost ground to new Japanese rivals.

Japanese carmakers adapted their vehicles to meet U.S. demands and developed key models for the U.S. market. They ramped up U.S. vehicle output to limit the impact of currency swings.

This year, VW's North American operations are expected to show an eighth consecutive annual loss. But by making more cars in North America, VW expects to price them more competitively, too. By 2013, VW wants 85 percent of U.S. vehicle sales to come from the Chattanooga plant and an older factory in Puebla, Mexico.

Bloomberg News contributed.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100913/AUTO01/9130328/1148/auto01/Ex-GM-exec-Browning-expected-to-head-VW-s-U.S.-division#ixzz0zQAIJ6eY

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By Drew Johnson

Ending months of speculation, Volkswagen's United States operations have named former GM and Ford executive Jonathan Browning as its new CEO.

Browning, 51, joined VW in June after exiting an executive position with General Motors. VW hired Browning to lead its international sales efforts.

Before joining VW, Browning worked for GM from 1981-1997, returning to the Detroit automaker in 2001 after a short time with Ford. Browning most recently headed GM Europe’s marketing, and held the position of managing direct of Jaguar while at Ford.

At VW of America, Browning will be responsible for overseeing the brand's planned rapid expansion. VW says it wants to dramatically increase North American sales, a move that it hopes will be bolstered by a new, less expensive to assemble Jetta and an upcoming Chattanooga, Tennessee, assembly plant.

Browning will be taking over for Stefan Jacoby as VW's fourth CEO since 2005. Jacoby left his post in June to assume the role of CEO at Volvo.



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Officially Official: VW of America names Browning as new CEO

by Jeff Glucker (RSS feed) on Sep 13th 2010 at 12:32PM

Yesterday, we reported that Volkswagen was planning to name Jonathan Browning as its new CEO of United States operations. At 11:00 AM today, VW did just that – Browning will officially assume the role on October 1st of this year.

Browning has held many executive sales and marketing positions within the automotive industry. He was recently tasked with managing the national sales team for all of the Volkswagen Group brands. Now, Browning will be a driving force behind the automakers push to become a leading brand in the United States.

VW Group recently invested $1 billion dollars in a new Chattanooga assembly plant and is also planning a large marketing campaign to rally sales around the redesigned Volkswagen Jetta. The target sales goal for 2018 is 200,000 Audi models and 800,000 Volkswagen models – high goals, indeed.

Congratulations to Mr. Browning and the Volkswagen Group.

[source: Volkswagen]

Show full PR text


Jonathan Browning will direct U.S. growth strategy for transition to volume brand

Herndon, Va. (Sept. 13, 2010) - Volkswagen Group of America announced today that Jonathan Browning, 51, has been named President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America effective October 1, 2010. He is currently responsible for the global directing of the Volkswagen Group's National Sales Companies (NSC).

"Volkswagen will play an even stronger role in the important U.S. market going forward, said Christian Klingler, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG for Sales. "Jonathan Browning is an acknowledged expert on this market, its customers and its sales structures."

Jonathan Browning succeeds Stefan Jacoby, who has left the company. Browning has held numerous executive sales and marketing posts worldwide at General Motors (GM) and Ford Motor Company. He was vice president of European sales, service and marketing at the GM Group from 2001 to 2008, and simultaneously chairman of Vauxhall Motors from 2006 to 2008, becoming GM vice president of global sales, service and marketing in 2008. Browning worked for the Ford Group from 1997 to 2001, first as executive director of marketing for Ford Europe and then as the global managing director of Jaguar. He moved to the Volkswagen Group in June 2010.

"The U.S. will always be one of the largest and most important markets for automobiles," said Klingler, adding that this affords the Volkswagen Group significant growth opportunities. Klingler also reiterated the target to sell 200,000 Audi brand models and 800,000 Volkswagen brand models in 2018. "Volkswagen and Audi will become leading brands in the U.S."

Volkswagen Group is investing one billion dollars in the new Chattanooga plant, will be launching a unique marketing offensive in the U.S. and recently celebrated the world premier of the Jetta in New York's Times Square. According to Klingler: "The Group's board and top management fully support this market and its customers."



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