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Volkswagen Chooses An Outsider To Lead North American Operations

The person who will be leading Volkswagen's North American Operations has a difficult task ahead of them. They will be charged with strengthen the brand in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Who is the lucky person to take this position?
Posted: January 22, 2016 - 11:30AM
Author: Will Maley

His name is Hinrich J. Woebcken and he is an outsider to Volkswagen. Woebcken comes from industrial brake manufacturer Knorr-Bremse where he was the head of their commercial vehicle systems division. Prior to that, Woebcken spent ten years at BMW where he was involved in purchasing.

Woebcken's first task as the head of VW's North American Operations is to patch up the German automaker's reputation in the U.S.

"The USA is and will remain a key core market for the Volkswagen brand. That is why the North American Region must be steered in the interest of our customers and dealers there. With his international experience Mr. Woebcken will make an important contribution to the brand's positive development in the region," said Volkswagen Brand CEO Dr. Herbert Diess in a statement.

Michael Horn will continue to serve as Volkswagen Group of America's CEO and president. Horn will report to Woebcken.

Wasn't there someone before Woebcken?

When Volkswagen announced the creation of the North American Operations in September, they had picked Skoda chairman Dr. Winfried Vahland. But a few weeks after the appointment, Vahland stepped down. In a statement, Volkswagen said Vahland and the company had "differing views" on the new structure and is "expressly not related" to the diesel emission scandal.