Volkswagen has faced a spate of well-publicized problems in the U.S., fending off widespread word of quality control problems, brand focus issues, and even enduring barbs about vehicle styling. Up until recently, the embattled German concern was able to derive some solace from its performance in China, one of the fastest growing automobile markets in the world. VW once commanded more than fifty percent of the country's car business (through a number of partnerships with local manufacturers), but its fortunes have taken a dramatic turn for the worse, in part because of increased competition from manufacturers like Toyota and General Motors. Currently, VW holds an 18 percent stake.
In a bid to correct its course, Volkswagen (and local partner the FAW Group) has decided to play musical chairs in the executive suite, moving An Tiecheng (head of FAW's planning department) upstairs into the role of President, pushing Qin Huanming into a position TBD. Also getting new office furniture is Soh Wei-ming, who has been the Veep of VW Group China since March. Soh will now replace Li Wu as the head honcho of FAW-VW sales.
VW hopes to reinvigorate its prospects with plans to introduce up to a dozen new models in China by 2009, while revamping production methods and reassessing their investment plans.