BREAKING: Volkswagen CEO Jonathan Browning Steps Down, Replaced by Michael Horn
Jonathan Browning, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of North America since October 1, 2010, will no longer head the German automaker's U.S. operations. Michael Horn, who joined the Volkswagen Group in 1990, and was most recently its head of global sales, will assume the Group's top spot in America. A Volkswagen spokesperson confirmed Brown "has left the company for personal reasons." The news comes as a surprise as we recently saw Browning during an intimate media briefing ahead of Volkswagen's 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show press conference. Browning discussed the future direction of the automaker, stating VW needed to increase its diesel presence in America, among other things. Volkswagen's U.S. sales have been down slightly this year, and are off from the record-high percentage gains of 2012. While sales of the Volkswagen Passat and Jetta sedans—VW's two best-selling models—remain strong, both were down in November from the year prior, and are down slightly year-to-date. Volkswagen reported sales of 373,689 vehicles through November, versus 394,128 sales through November 2012, a decrease of 5.2 percent. Both vehicles have received a new 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine which we got to test recently. The Volkswagen Jetta has also received an independent rear suspension, which improves driving dynamics and overall quality. Prior to working within the Volkswagen Group, Browning was appointed GM vice president of global sales, service, and marketing in 2008. Before that he had held numerous positions worldwide with General Motors and the Ford Motor Company. Movement within the Volkswagen Group is not unheard of, as in June 2012 Audi president of U.S. operations, Johan de Nysschen, left his post after 19 years with the German luxury automaker. The following month he assumed his current role as senior vice president of Nissan, and head of Infiniti. We'll update you as details emerge regarding Browning, and his successor, Michael Horn, as they become available. Source: Volkswagen, Automotive News (Twitter)
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