By on January 19, 2016

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. 

“The USA is and will remain a key core market for the Volkswagen brand. That is why the North America 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,” Volkswagen brand CEO Herbert Diess said in a statement.

Woebcken was manager for “driving dynamics” at BMW Group, which included managing production for all the brands’ chassis components. Woebcken left BMW in 2014 for Knorr-Bremse Group, a brake manufacturer in Germany. According to Reuters, Woebcken left Knorr-Bremse last year.

(Photo courtesy Knorr-Bremse)

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18 Comments on “Former BMW Manager Woebcken to Lead Volkswagen in North America...”

  • avatar

    I keep seeing this guy’s name as “Woebegone.”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I don’t see Mr Horn sticking around much longer. His employer has made his job nearly impossible – lingering quality issues, uncompetitive CUVs, and the diesel mess pretty much make him a caretaker.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not just Horn. Everybody at VWNA is in the same predicament, that is, trying to cope with the mess VW in Europe created.

      • 0 avatar

        Horn is one guy I feel bad for in this whole mess. VW would have scapegoated him if they could of. The fact that they haven’t implies pretty strongly that he had no idea about the diesel cheating.

        Hopefully his next job is a better one.

  • avatar

    Agree. And question: does Woebcken have either the managerial or NA expertise this job requires? Just my impression, but either they can’t attract anyone more qualified, or they’re staging the shutdown carefully.

  • avatar

    That amazing juggernaut success story that is Cadillac under the tutelage of Johann de Nysschen already sweeped up Uwe “Pen Boy” Ellinghaus, so these are the leftovers.

    (Implied /s)

  • avatar

    “Woebcken left BMW in 2014 for Knorr-Bremse Group […] Woebcken left Knorr-Bremse last year.”

    So, his last gig lasted only a year give or take a few months. And he left that last year. So, either he made the wrong decision with his last career move, or he is too hot to stay put in one place long enough, or is he not that great to begin with but smart enough to leave before he is forced out.

    Never mind that, what does his experience at BMW (managing production of chassis components) have to do with heading a geography? Maybe if he can deliver a CUV for NA that becomes a huge hit. I am grasping at straws.

    I was very impressed with Horn’s testimony in Congress. He managed to say all the right things in terms of PR and maneuvering. The best you can hope for in front of that show is to not create more public controversy with your statements or to feed more fake outrage to those who ask “questions”. I imagine Horn must be in such a bind if he hasn’t made a move yet.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “…what does his experience at BMW (managing production of chassis components) have to do with heading a geography?”

      Great question. Maybe he understands US law better than the other candidates. *snark*

    • 0 avatar

      Agree. It’s impossible to know the internal politics but based on his public performances to date Horn should be running North America.

  • avatar

    Horn better get his resume out….because he is not long at VW

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    Somebody put his mouth on crooked.

  • avatar

    For a company whose current woes are due in part to the German auto maker culture, VAG certainly doesn’t seem to be looking outside of that culture.

  • avatar

    Is it just me…..but it seems that all of VAG’s frontmen look like they could of been officers in the Waffen-SS.

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