Volkswagen AG is serious about its goal to be world's largest automaker by 2018 and one strategy that has been working well for it is its aggressive recruitment of top executives from competitors. Its latest conquest was hiring Joerg Sommer as its AG’s sales director for e-mobility. Sommer, who had previously headed Renault SA's EV brand operations, will be responsible for EV sales for all of VW Group's brands worldwide. VW’s hiring of Sommer is indicative of VW CEO Martin Winterkorn's resolve to challenge Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, who claims that his alliance will be the first full-line manufacturer to build zero-emission vehicles for the mass market.
In fact, delivery of the Nissan Leaf to European customers will start in January. Within the next few years, Renault-Nissan plans to introduce eight different EVs. And to accomplish this, it has prepared a budget of 4 billion euros. Renault will introduce the Fluence, Kangoo, Twizy and Zoe EVs in 2011. On the other hand, VW will only begin selling the VW Golf blue-e-motion, E-Up and E-Jetta in 2013.
VW has set a goal to reach annual global EV sales of 300,000 units by 2018. Renault-Nissan expects to have EV production capacity of 500,000 units in the next few years. With a degree in industrial engineering as well as an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sommer has held a variety of product-planning jobs at General Motors Co. and Daimler AG before working for Renault in 2009 as the brand director of the premium segment and electric vehicles. Sommer started working on his tasks for VW's newly created position last Oct. 1. Sommer reports to Christian Klingler, VW’s board member in charge of sales. [via autonews - sub. required]