Volkswagen names new head for America group

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Volkswagen AG on Wednesday named a new head of its America group as the automaker looks forward to increase SUV sales amid weakening demand for cars.

Scott Keogh, presently head of Audi of America, is going to become president and chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America as well as head of the Volkswagen brand for the North American region effective November 1, the company stated.

Keogh, 49, will succeed Hinrich Woebcken, who will work in the company as an adviser.

“Scott Keogh, who headed Audi to excellence in the U.S., will build upon the momentum and implement the next stage in the growth strategy as we continue to develop Volkswagen into a more relevant player in North America,” stated Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess.

Woebcken, a former BMW executive who operated global purchasing among other jobs, was named in January 2016 as head of automaker’s North American region, after the automaker confessed using secret software to cheat diesel emissions standards.

Overall, VW has agreed to spend over $25 billion in the United States for claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers and offered to purchase back about 500,000 polluting U.S. vehicles. The buy backs will continue through the end of next year.

Volkswagen’s U.S. sales through September 2018 increased 5.5 percent to 266,228 vehicles, but it is still having hard time to shift gears away from slow-selling vehicles to SUVs.

Sales of the company’s brand new Jetta sedan dropped 33 percent in 2018, where as sales of the Passat and Golf cars also dropped 34 percent and 38 percent, respectively. Two new sport utility vehicles – the Atlas and Tiguan – now represent over 40 percent of all U.S. sales.

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