Robert Martell is the new vice president of customer experience at Volkswagen of America. Two days earlier, General Motors Co. had appointed his predecessor. Martell, 54 years old, has worked for VW for 25 years. Martell is the second person to get this newly-created role. He succeeds Mark Barnes who quit after less than a year to serve as GM’s top sales executive responsible for China and other overseas markets.
Martell started working for VW in 1986 when he began as VW’s district sales manager for Canada. Martell had last served as VW’s general manager of dealer operations. Martell will be reporting directly to VW Group of America CEO Jonathan Browning.
In a statement, Browning said that Martell will make use of his broad experience in working with dealerships at his new job. Browning said that the Customer Experience position is one of the vital foundational elements to Volkswagen’s persistent success in the U.S. He added that having Martell’s preparedness for this new task is a “reflection of his capabilities, his strong relationships with our dealer network, and the growing bench strength within our company.”
VW created this position in 2011 to boost customer relations at dealerships and to help improve VW’s rankings in J.D. Power’s influential customer service and sales satisfaction indexes. Martell will oversee customer care and loyalty. He will also be responsible for the Volkswagen Academy, its technical training facility located in Chattanooga.