FRANKFURT -- The head of production at Volkswagen AG, Folker Weissgerber, will leave Europe's biggest carmaker at the end of June, the company said on Thursday, confirming recent newspaper reports.
A VW spokesman said Weissgerber would not be replaced and that responsibility for production would be devolved to the group's individual brands.
The Financial Times Deutschland said Weissgerber was the latest casualty of a clear out of senior management by Chief Executive Bernd Pischetsrieder as he grapples to restore profit growth at the group.
VW said earlier this month that operating profit would improve in 2005 but cautioned that the extent of the improvement would depend on unpredictable external factors.
New-car sales in Europe had their worst February in a decade, compounding the challenges for manufacturers posed by the strong euro, high prices of raw materials, excess capacity and tough competition from Asian imports.
VW lost 1 billion euros ($1.31 billion) in its U.S. business last year and is also facing dwindling profits in China.
Pischetsrieder has taken on responsibility for group strategy after Jens Neumann left the management board last year and hired former Chrysler chief Wolfgang Berhnard to bring down costs and boost quality at VW's flagship brands.