VW Mexico exec will run North American purchasing

Ruediger Koch
WOLFSBURG, Germany — Volkswagen AG has named a purchasing chief at VW de Mexico with authority over North American parts procurement.

The appointment is part of a VW plan to create powerful regional purchasing offices for North America and South America by upgrading operations in Mexico and Brazil. The offices would run regional purchasing autonomously and would buy parts for VW's global operations.

VW aims to step up purchasing in North America especially and to shift more production there to take advantage of the weak dollar. The new regional purchasing approach comes as the automaker prepares to choose the site for a North American assembly plant.

VW named Ruediger Koch, 50, as head of procurement at VW de Mexico effective July 1 with responsibility for purchasing in all of North America. Koch has been head of purchasing at Volkswagen China since 2004.

Purchasing boss
VW will run North American purchasing from Mexico. Here's a snapshot of the man in charge, Ruediger Koch
Former job: Head of purchasing, Volkswagen China
New position: Head of procurement, VW de Mexico, with responsibility for purchasing for all of North America
VW Group China purchasing budget: $10.91 billion (2007)

VW AG, which increased its worldwide purchasing last year by 4.7 percent to 72 billion euros ($112.26 billion), said the changes are aimed at reducing costs by decentralizing procurement away from headquarters here in Wolfsburg and giving more authority to the regions.

Until now, purchasing in important overseas markets has been conducted primarily for the local operation but has been overseen by VW's central procurement office here.

Underscoring how centralized VW's purchasing is now, the automaker said half of its spending last year, or $56.13 billion, went to German suppliers.

VW AG also named Alexander Seitz, 46, head of procurement at VW do Brasil effective Aug. 1 with responsibility for purchasing throughout South America. Seitz joined VW in 2005.

"The appointments will turn procurement more into a global strategy," a Volkswagen spokeswoman said. "This will allow VW to achieve better prices on raw materials and in negotiations with suppliers."

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