Simon Thomas has been named managing director of Volkswagen Group UK effective September 1, 2011. He will be replacing Robin Woolcock, who is VW's UK boss since 2000 and will now be transferred to a new assignment within the VW Group.
Thomas was previously the European sales and marketing chief at Nissan during its recent revival in the region. In 1991, Thomas joined Nissan UK from the Austin Rover Group, climbing up the career ladder to be Nissan UK's marketing director in 2000.
After a stint as sales and marketing head for Nissan and Infiniti in Canada, he was named vice president of sales at Nissan Europe in 2007. In 2009, he was appointed as Nissan Europe's senior vice president of sales and marketing, responsible for the vehicle sales, vehicle distribution and network development in 30 countries.
During the past four years, the market share of Nissan in Europe has increased from 1.9 percent to 2.9 percent. New-vehicle sales rose from 311,794 in 2007 to 403,311 last year, according to industry association ACEA.
Thomas started his career in automotive as an apprentice technician in 1976 at a Ford dealership. VW is the third most popular brand in the United Kingdom after Vauxhall and Ford with a market share of 9.3 percent. The unit sales of the brand dropped to 107,971 units in the first seven months from 108,644 the year before, according to the SMMT industry association.