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Volkswagen Names Jonathan Browning New U.S. Chief

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta

2011 Volkswagen Jetta

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Volkswagen of America has been without a CEO since Stefan Jacoby resigned earlier this year, but confirmation has come that the American arm of the German automaker will soon have a new leader.

The automaker has announced today that former GM executive Jonathan Browning has been named president and CEO of Volkswagen of America effective October 1, 2010.

Already head of Volkswagen’s worldwide sales organizations, Browning is the former head of GM global sales and, before that, a managing director of Jaguar and Ford.

Browning, 51, inherits Volkswagen as the company embarks on a major drive to push its sales in North America over one million units annually, including 200,000 Audi sales. An expansion in the U.S., with a new manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a part of the drive. Volkswagen will produce a new large sedan in the plant, and will replace the existing Passat with the "NMS," or New Mid-Size Sedan.

With the plant, Volkswagen will be able to build a vast majority of the vehicles it sells in North America within the market.

Earlier this year, Volkswagen introduced its new 2011 Jetta with a larger back seat and a less costly interior, as it tries to address premium pricing and vehicle size issues that have put it at a disadvantage to Japanese and Korean-made cars like the Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Sonata.

Browning’s predecessor, Stefan Jacoby, has since taken charge of Volvo's worldwide operations, as the first CEO since the brand was acquired by China's Geely, from Ford.

Volkswagen says its goal is to be the world's largest automaker by 2018.


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