By on September 1, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Atlas - Image: VolkswagenIn 2009, during the depths of a global financial crisis the likes of which generations had never seen, Volkswagen of America set forth on a nine-year plan that would more than triple sales to 800,000 units in 2018.

Stuff happened. A crisis (or two) got in the way. An overly Americanized product lineup lacking in utility vehicles underachieved. Volkswagen lost its right to sell diesel models in America. Volkswagen will struggle to sell 400,000 new vehicles in the United States in 2018.

Although at first it seemed possible — Volkswagen sales grew far faster than the market as a whole exiting the recession — the 800,000-unit sales goal has long since been abandoned. By 2014, before the diesel emissions scandal even broke, now-departed Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn was questioning the timing of the 800,000-sales goal.

As the summer of 2017 approaches a close, however, Volkswagen’s global boss Herbert Diess has a new, seemingly unrealistic goal for the brand’s U.S. operations, Bloomberg reports. With a stronger SUV lineup, Volkswagen wants to grow its U.S. market share to 5 percent in 2020.

Volkswagen’s market share in 2017? Less than 2 percent. (Read More…)

By on August 17, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan - Image: VolkswagenThe Nissan Juke and Mini Countryman arrived in the United States in 2010. The Subaru Crosstrek appeared two years later.

Buick’s Encore appeared at U.S. dealers in 2013; its Chevrolet Trax partner the following year. 2015 saw the arrival of the Fiat 500X, Jeep Renegade, Honda HR-V, and Mazda CX-3. The (FWD-only) Toyota C-HR landed in April 2017. The Hyundai Kona was unveiled in June 2017 and will show up in U.S. Hyundai stores this coming winter.

And on August 23, 2017, Volkswagen will unveil the T-Roc, which isn’t likely to go on sale in the United States until 2019. That’s nine years late.

Will the T-Roc’s tardiness cause the subcompact Volkswagen crossover to suffer the marketplace consequences just as its overdue siblings always have? (Read More…)

By on August 9, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan - Image: VolkswagenAfter steady declines even prior to the diesel emissions scandal of nearly two years ago, Volkswagen of America took another serious hit in 2016 — the best year on record for the auto industry. Compared with 2012, Volkswagen volume sank by 85,000 sales last year.

But by the end of 2016, Volkswagen’s U.S. sales volume was beginning to rise again. True, that rise was in comparison with a true low — Volkswagen sales in the final one-sixth of 2016 were up 22 percent year-over-year but were 17-percent lower than in the same period of 2012 — but Volkswagen was bouncing back.

The bounce back continued through the first half of 2017, with Volkswagen sales through June up 8 percent despite the market’s 2-percent downturn.

Perhaps July was just a blip on the radar. But Volkswagen’s eight-month streak of improvement screeched to a halt last month as the U.S. auto industry reported its most significant losses of the year, and as Volkswagen’s new SUV lineup continues to dip its toes in American waters. (Read More…)

By on July 7, 2017

VW of America Werner Eichhorn - Image: VolkswagenOne month ago, former Hyundai Motor America sales vice president Derrick Hatami departed Hyundai and ended up in a similar role at Volkswagen of America: executive vice president for sales and marketing.

Hatami moved into his new office on June 12, 2017. Less than two months from now, and two years after Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal erupted in September 2015, Hatami’s new boss will move into his new office. Imported from Skoda, Werner Eichhorn moves to Volkswagen’s North American region as the chief sales and marketing officer.

Together with Hinrich Woebcken, who became CEO of Volkswagen in North America in April 2016, seven months after #dieselgate broke, Hatami and Werner Eichhorn form the nucleus of an all-new sales team at Volkswagen of America.

And not a moment too soon. (Read More…)

By on June 8, 2017

VW logo, Image: Volkswagen

Earlier this week, former Hyundai executive Derrick Hatami appeared to be a corporate sacrificial lamb — slaughtered by the Korean automaker to appease the angry sales gods. His abrupt departure from the company seemed to be an under-the-rug firing. However, his former employer quickly reached to us to explain Hatami had left on his own accord, wishing him well. While that’s often the boilerplate explanation when an executive is forcibly ousted from a large company, Hyundai wasn’t lying.

Hatami appeared, as if by magic, on Volkswagen of America roster less than 48 hours after news of his exodus broke. The current assumption is that his apparent firing from Hyundai was, in fact, a poaching maneuver undertaken by VW. Otherwise, this man has the most incredible interviewing skills on planet Earth.  (Read More…)

By on August 21, 2016

2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, Image: Volkswagen

Updated with details on all-wheel drive being standard equipment for Alltrack.

Volkswagen of America needs a winner as it reels from the ongoing diesel emissions scandal, and its forthcoming Alltrack — a jacked-up, all-wheel-drive version of the SportWagen — is hopefully just the ticket.

As Volkswagen prepares to launch the new model on American shores, it’s all hands on deck for the German automaker as it sends representatives from its internal training department to every single dealership in the United States.

(Read More…)

By on August 3, 2016

dr_hendrik_muth_6267

Volkswagen of America has a new head honcho in charge of product and marketing, and he’ll have his work cut out for him.

Today, Volkswagen named Dr. Hendrik Muth as the new vice-president of product marketing and strategy for its beleaguered U.S. division. His job? To sell vehicles. Ideally, lots of them. (Read More…)

By on January 19, 2016

Hinrich J. Woebcken-Systeme fŸr Nutzfahrzeuge, Knorr Bremse AG

Former BMW Group chassis manager Hinrich Woebcken will head Volkswagen in North America, the automaker announced Tuesday. Woebcken will take over April 1.

Woebcken takes over the position from former Skoda chief Winfried Vahland, who was tabbed for the new position last year, but resigned three weeks later.

Volkswagen of America President and CEO Michael Horn will report to Woebcken, according to a statement from the automaker, but it’s unclear what Horn’s duties will be under the new North American chief.  (Read More…)

By on October 27, 2015

Volkswagen Chattanooga Tower

Volkswagen could significantly overhaul its U.S. operations — including not selling diesel models in the country — after it has dealt with federal and civil claims stemming from its massive diesel cheating scandal, Reuters reported.

The report, which quoted two sources familiar with the automaker’s plans, said replacing North American chief Winfried Vahland, who quit after three weeks, would happen after the automaker has reached an agreement over its illegally polluting cars. (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2015

Party with Volkswagen App Connect

If, while watching your team crush it this weekend, you see few Volkswagen ads, you’re not alone; VW of America is reining in advertising for two weeks.

(Read More…)

By on September 24, 2015

2014-vahlandThe Chairman of the Board of Management for Škoda, Prof. Dr. h.c. Winfried Vahland, is expected to replace Michael Horn as CEO of Volkswagen of America, reports Automotive News.

The news is just the latest in a number of rumors regarding a massive executive shuffle following the departure of Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn on Wednesday.

During the U.S. launch of a refreshed 2016 Passat in New York on Monday, Horn said: “Our company was dishonest with the EPA, and the California Air Resources Board and with all of you. And in my German words: We have totally screwed up.”

(Read More…)

By on February 2, 2014
Ben Pon (left) and the first VW Beetle imported to the United States

Ben Pon (left) and the first VW Beetle imported to the United States

In one of those weird coincidences, Volkswagen of America is celebrating the 65th anniversary of the Beetle in the United States just as the last VW Type 2 (aka the Volkswagen bus) ever made, which was assembled in Brazil on December 20, 2013, arrived at the vintage vehicle museum in VW Commercial Vehicles’ headquarters in Hanover, Germany. The coincidence is that importing VW Beetles to America and building the VW bus were both ideas that originated in the mind of one man, someone who didn’t even work for Volkswagen, Dutch car dealer Ben Pon. (Read More…)

By on December 17, 2013

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, Exterior, Front 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Despite giving the old college try for decades, Volkswagen is still confounded by the lack of cachet their namesake brand holds among the hearts and minds of many an American. With VW of America CEO Jonathan Browning stepping down and returning to the United Kingdom at the end of this year, the Wolfsburg automaker hope one of their own, successor Michael Horn, will be able to finally crack the code of success in the United States.

(Read More…)

By on December 13, 2013

Michael Horn

Volkswagen of America CEO and President Jonathan Browning has stepped down from his post, with Michael Horn  set to assume the role once held by Browning beginning New Year’s Day 2014.

(Read More…)

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