Audi of America Inc. plans to stop sharing space with Volkswagen of America Inc. later this year and instead occupy one of the two buildings on VW's Auburn Hills, Mich., campus.
The brands have shared the two U.S. headquarters buildings since 1991. Starting this summer, Audi of America will have its own building - with its own sign out front.
About 200 Audi employees are expected to occupy the building.
"For the first time ever, we'll have our own environment," says Johan de Nysschen, executive vice president in charge of Audi of America. "You'll walk in, and it's Audi of America. If you phone, the call indication on your phone will be Audi of America."
In the more distant future, Audi may move out of Michigan and closer to its largest markets on the East Coast. But that decision is far from being made, de Nysschen says.
"We need our own environment first," he says.
Audi and VW will continue to share backroom operations such as legal, human resources and finance, says Frank Witter, CEO of Volkswagen of America Inc., the legal holding entity for VW and Audi brand operations in the United States.
The separation of the two brands began in January 2005 after the retirement of Gerd Klauss as CEO of VW of America. The organization was restructured, and Witter, who is also CFO, added the CEO title last January.
"When Klauss talked, it was impossible to say whether he was talking as the leader of this almost holding company or as the brand leader of Volkswagen," Witter says. "We said that is going to change."
De Nysschen and Adrian Hallmark, head of the VW brand in the United States, report to Witter. But they also report to the Audi and VW brand heads in Germany.
You may e-mail Diana T. Kurylko at [email protected]