In a rather sudden move, Volkswagen has announced that, effective immediately, Michael Horn is replacing Jonathan Browning (shown above) as CEO of VW of America. Horn has been with VW since 1990, taking on various roles that include, most recently, the head of VW Aftersales worldwide.

As for Browning, VW says that his departure is due to personal reasons. Browning replaced Stefan Jacoby as VWoA CEO in October 2010, but Automotive News hints that VW's "disappointing US sales," may have been a factor in the executive shakeup, as VW was not on trend to reach its aggressive goal of selling 800,000 units in the US annually by 2018. Scroll down for VW's official announcement (translated from German) as well as some other resulting personnel changes.
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Wolfsburg, 12 December 2013
Personnel changes in sales and after sales

The Volkswagen Group occupies both after sales and marketing in areas 1 January 2014 several new self-service capabilities.

Michael Horn (51) is President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. Horn is in business administration and in 1990 joined to Volkswagen, worked on the strategy of the Group and brand, took over in 1997 the distribution of North-West Europe and in 2001 the sales and marketing for full-size cars of the Volkswagen brand. In 2004, he joined the management of Sales Europe. In 2009 he became head of Volkswagen After Sales worldwide. Horn follows in his new role, Jonathan Browning (54), who is leaving for personal reasons from the group and returned to Britain.

Axel Schulte-Huermann (52) is the new Head of Aftersales at Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, succeeding Michael Horn function. The engineering graduate joined the Volkswagen Group in 1987 in a. After various responsible positions in logistics, he was appointed Head of Sales appointed 2001 Original parts of the ŠKODA brand. In 2004 he took on the task of the manager at Volkswagen Original parts logistics. Since 2012 he is Head of Supply Chain at Genuine Parts and Service the Volkswagen Group.

Terence Johnsson (52), who now heads at Audi sales overseas. His professional career began in 1984, the economist at General Motors. After various responsible positions at GM Asia Pacific Johnsson was appointed President and Managing Director of GM Middle East Operations 2004. Since 2008, he was vice president of sales, service and marketing at GM in China. 2011 Johnsson joined the Volkswagen Group a. He first took over the management of the sales of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand in North and South America, and from August 2013 for North America.

Ludger Fretzen (48) becomes the new head of sales at Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand for North America and follows in this function Terence Johnsson. Fretzen's degree in business administration in 1991 and came to the Volkswagen Group. He was sales manager of Volkswagen cars in Scandinavia in 1993 and in 1996 took over a task in the sales management of the Group. 1998, the responsibility for product strategy, he was assigned in marketing. As of 2000 Fretzen was responsible for worldwide product marketing of Volkswagen cars. In 2010 he was appointed Managing Director of Volkswagen Audi España SA.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 45 Comments
      GR
      • 1 Year Ago
      VW's were upscale compared to their competition about a decade ago. They also cost more and were less reliable. As VW aimed to be the global sales leader, they made their popular Jetta and Passat models cheaper. They did this by making the car cheaper to produce and cutting corners. Even non car enthusiasts noticed and got turned off. My dad drives a Mk. IV Jetta and when he checked out a Mk. VI at a VW dealership, he said he preferred his. Combined with manufacturing in Mexico, subpar plastic quality, and the lowest reliability in its class, it's no surprise many Americans are not turning to VW. Japanese cars are a better value with much better reliability and domestics are very good now. VW's only real saving grace is the TDI engine that offers diesel power in commuter cars. However, GM and Mazda is challenging them at this front too. While VW does have some gems like the Golf and GTI, their Jetta and Passat have slipped and people took notice. I doubt they can top Toyota or GM anytime soon in global sales given they are slipping in the US which is a huge market.
      Snark
      • 1 Year Ago
      So we haven't seen a single new product since the hideous new Beetle and reasonably decent new Passat, they delayed the new Golf and GTI for a year, and VW still has no C- or D-segment crossover, no B-segment car, no people-mover, and an aged and stagnant CC. And, lo and behold, their sales are crap. Must be Browning's fault. Clearly. VW, the disease is inside you.
      JaredN
      • 1 Year Ago
      If VW wants to make their 800k goal, they are going to stop treating the US market as a red-headed stepchild. Each time VW brings out a new generation Golf/GTI, they release in the US market 1+ year after Europe.
      wave9x
      • 1 Year Ago
      Maybe the new guy won't deliver to us cheaped out, dumbed down cars like the Jetta and Passat, thinking that's what America wants, instead of giving us the Scirocco. And maybe he will give us their new cars when they come out instead of waiting 2 years like with the A3 and new Golf/GTI.
        futuramautoblog
        • 1 Year Ago
        @wave9x
        To be fair, all current range of VW were already developed prior to Browning, and development bosses and board members at VW AG are more to blame for it as they are the ones who've approved the current crop of "Boring" VWs sold in US. But, yes, I am hoping the new guy will have more say in product development for US market cars and bring us the best examples, not the worst.
        Snark
        • 1 Year Ago
        @wave9x
        There is no more Scirocco. Forget about it.
          pickles
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Snark
          Of course there is. We just don't get it in the USA (the largest auto market in the world).
      LMI500
      • 1 Year Ago
      VW got greedy and went for sales over vehicle character. The Jetta, and Passat ruined them I think. They have become two very very bland boring cars that are not at all different from each other. The Golf, and Beetle still have some character, but they aren't the volume cars in the brand. The Golf in Europe is their volume car. They've lost their way I think.
      Justin
      • 1 Year Ago
      That's what happens when you take a brand that has a loyal following based on a reputation of selling affordable European sophistication and destroy your only strength in one disastrous model change. They had an initial sales boom but now everyone realizes that VW is selling Toyotas now instead of European cars. Guess what, people are still going to buy their boring cars from Toyota. VW doesn't have the reputation or huge repeat sales base to do what they've done.
      Rampant
      • 1 Year Ago
      When they debuted, the cheapend down interiors of the passat and jetta were overshadowed by the reduced and more competitive pricing and people flocked to them. Now, after the consumers have had some time to live with them, they are finding out that cheap and low cost are not the same thing and VW's sales are down. I think that their exterior styling has a large hand in sliding sales too. In the mid/late '00s, VW borrowed many style ques from Audi and their car looked fantastic. Now, the whole range has no 'face' - all of their cars just look unamused.
      zepeda1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Talk about being set up to fail. VW will never sniff 800k vehicles a year. Are they in the biggest segement, trucks? Nope. Minivan? nope. Yeah Michael Horn, you\'re pretty much screwed.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Terry Actill
      • 1 Year Ago
      Browning was all mouth and trousers. Just because you say it doesn't mean it is. VW overreached big time. Decontented Jettas are not desirable. Overpriced mediocre suvs are not desirable. The GTI is desirable but it's small fry. The new Golf hopefully shifts a few customers, but I doubt it.
      lazybeans
      • 1 Year Ago
      They have a nice vehicle lineup, but perhaps the nightmarish reliability of their vehicles from the last decade has caught up to them. I should know, I owned one of their cars.
      mookieblaylock
      • 1 Year Ago
      They don't really have much passion. They got plans for huge suv and a sedan, that really buildsa buzz. They need an awd softroader wagon to take on subaru but the idiots move at a glacial pace and have absolutely no way to latch onto and capitalize on hot trends
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