Bernd Osterloh calls Volkswagen’s US operations a “disaster”

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 24, 2014

Bernd Osterloh, Volkswagen's works council chief, has described the carmaker's operations in the United States a "disaster." He also called for more models and swift decisions to revive VW’s struggling business in the US. VW has managed to become the No. 1 carmaker in both China and Europe, but has struggled largely to attain success in the US, according to Osterloh, who also holds a seat on the carmaker's supervisory board.

Because of the dismal showing by VW in the US, the German carmaker this month axed US chief Jonathan Browning, replacing him with Wolfsburg veteran Michael Horn. Osterloh echoed criticism from Horn, who recently said that VW headquarters had paid little attention to the dynamics of the US market.

Osterloh remarked that VW's situation in the US won't improve until 2016 and the carmaker needs to introduce more models in the country, including a pick-up truck. VW announced plans at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show to produce a mid-sized sports utility vehicle for North America as part of its $7 billion investment in the region. 

Osterloh lamented it remains unclear where VW will build its CrossBlue SUV concept that was unveiled in 2013. VW prefers to build the SUV at its Chattanooga site in Tennessee rather than at its Puebla plant in Mexico, a source privy with the matter told Reuters. According to Osterloh, it would make sense from an economic viewpoint that the Chattanooga site would build the SUV.

Topics: vw, united states

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