Volkswagen will be implementing an extensive reorganization of its management to maintain its focus on growth targets, according to reports from the German media. The Spiegel magazine said that the head of VW’s Chinese operations, Karl-Thomas Neumann, may quit his post after not being chosen for a promotion.
Analysts had speculated that Neuman was a likely candidate to replace VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn when the latter retires. The extensive reorganization of managers at VW also extends to its Audi unit, where two executives are bound to be demoted, according to business newspaper Handelsblatt. Michael Dick, Audi’s technical chief, and Peter Schwarzenbauer, the brand’s sales and marketing boss, are to leave the Audi board, said Handelsblatt.
According to Spiegel, the restructuring entails the creation of a management board member for China to supervise the carmaker’s future expansion in the country, which is regarded as the company’s largest market.
The magazine said that VW did not offer the post to Neumann, who in turn declined another post in the group. According to Spiegel, VW’s top management is said to be disappointed with Neumann’s performance in China, where quality issues with the automaker’s DQ200 seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions have earned consumer complaints and have cost EUR400,000.
The shake-up at Audi, meanwhile, is prompted by the goal of VW's top management to have the brand become more aggressive in competing against BMW, according to Handelsblatt. VW is holding a meeting to approve the management restructuring.
A source privy to the matter told Reuters that the management restructuring is aimed at preparing VW for 2018. VW is aiming to become the biggest and most profitable car manufacturer in the world by 2018, overtaking current leaders General Motors Co. and Toyota Motor Corp.
The company plans to do this by increasing auto deliveries across its multi-brand group to 10 million annually.