2011 Jetta and boosting used-car sales, top priorities for Vw’s Browning

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 16, 2010

Volkswagen AG executives introduced the new chief executive of Volkswagen America Inc., Jonathan Browning, last Monday. Browning, who served previously as European sales and marketing executive for General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co., aims to boost dealer networks, successfully launch a redesigned Jetta, and raise used-car sales.

Browning is the successor to Stefan Jacoby, who now heads Volvo for China's Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, a unit of Zhejiang Geely. Browning had actually built his career in Europe but he states that he had felt at home in the US after having worked for GM and Ford for many years.

Browning has a graduate business degree from Duke University. Browning is tasked with continuing VW’s multibillion-dollar expansion in North America.

VW has set a target to more than triple sales by 2018 to 800,000 units. VW is seeking to push the total to more than 1 million units (including Audi sales). Volkswagen AG posted double-digit global growth of deliveries through August after having achieved sales in the US of almost 240,000 vehicles.

After a news conference to announce the appointment, Browning addressed reporters and told them that he aims to ensure that the company will implement the plan “in terms of driving growth over the longer term." Browning said that this is about “sustained growth” as a means to build the business. Browning will prioritize working to increase US sales, which peaked in 1979 with nearly 600,000 vehicles.

He also seeks to turn around a series of annual losses at the Americas unit. VW is relying on sales of the 2011 Jetta, which offers more leg room and a more affordable price.

Volkswagen's strategy includes producing more cars in the US and reinforcing its dealer network. VW also has plans to build a mid-sized sedan for the US market at its new plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 2011. This sedan has yet to be named though. Volkswagen has poured in a $1 billion investment in the facility. [via autonews - sub. required]

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