2011 Volkswagen Jetta – Click above for high-res image gallery

Volkswagen has big plans for the U.S. auto industry. By 2018, The People's Automaker plans to sell a combined one million VWs and Audis per year; or about three times current sales numbers. VW has a plant in Tennessee that will build a planned 150,000 midsized sedans per year and a new, lower cost Jetta is expected to nab more of the coveted C-segment pie. The automaker plans to turn a profit here in the States by 2012 or 2013, a full decade after the last profit in 2002.

Like we said, VW has set the bar very high, but there's a big problem. The German automaker currently doesn't have a leader here in the U.S. Stefan Jacoby, a 25-year vet at VW, stepped down last month, leaving a thoroughly-engineered vacuum at the top of VW's U.S. org chart. VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, who reportedly planned to detail the company's road map to prosperity at a Jetta test drive on Monday, still hasn't named a North American CEO.

We don't make cars, but we're pretty sure if you want to triple sales in eight years it's a great idea to have strong leaders in place. We have little doubt VW will eventually find a suitable replacement for Jacoby, but whomever gets the job is going need broad shoulders for all the weight that's going to be placed on them.

[Source: Business Week]