WOLFSBURG, Germany - Volkswagen Group has reshuffled management in its Volkswagen brand passenger car and commercial vehicle divisions.
Hans-Ulrich Sachs, 46, head of a large Ford dealer group in Germany, will take responsibility for Volkswagen Division passenger-car sales worldwide, a position held previously by Robert Buechelhofer.
Buechelhofer, 56, will remain head of passenger-car marketing for the VW brand and continue to lead sales and marketing for the VW group, which includes Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Lamborghini, Bentley and Rolls-Royce. Buechelhofer remains on the VW group management board.
The changes, which take effect June 1, should bolster VW's sales and marketing efforts as it continues to launch more smaller-volume and niche vehicles, such as the VW Bora sedan and the New Beetle.
'We face digestion problems in the market,' said a VW executive who asked not to be named.
A VW spokesman said Buechel-hofer decided on his own to relinquish part of his responsibilities and looked for more than a year to fill the position. The spokesman, who noted that all other VW divisions have their own sales and marketing directors, said Buechelhofer felt handling both the VW group and VW brand duties was too much for one executive.
Sachs will join the VW Division management board, which will expand with the sales position. Buechelhofer will keep his seat on the VW brand's board.
Sachs held posts at Deutsche Leasing AG and Deutsche Bank Indonesia before moving in 1989 to SG Holding AG, which runs 77 Ford outlets in southern Germany. In July 1995 he was named SG's chairman.
Effective April 19, Daniel Coppens becomes head of sales and marketing for Volkswagen commercial vehicles. Coppens joins from DaimlerChrysler, where he had been head of sales at the European truck division. The 43-year-old Belgian will succeed Wilhelm Walch, 56, whose new position has not been announced.
Last week, VW announced its best-ever first quarter sales results. Worldwide unit sales rose 9.6 percent to 1,177,677 vehicles compared to the same period last year.