Volkswagen Group, the largest carmaker in China, is adopting a new management structure to create more autonomy and direct oversight, while accelerating decision-making in the key country.
The changes, effective Aug. 1, are intended to give company executives “greater autonomy to further strengthen its leading position in the dynamic automotive market,” the German group said on June 17.
VW Group has started to convert its broad global car and light-truck lineup across multiple brands to electric-only and faces increased competition from Tesla Inc. and other EV startups, as well as global giants such as General Motors, and China’s traditional carmakers who have made important strides in styling and quality in recent years.
The core of the new organization will be a China management board, chaired by Ralf Brandstätter, now CEO of the VW brand globally.
Other members of the board will include the CEOs of the Audi and VW brands in China, and the China head of Cariad – VW Group’s software unit, as well as locally based executives in charge of “major functional areas,” VW Group said.
“The China Board will be the driving force for swifter and more flexible decision-making processes,” the company added.
Stefan Mecha, CEO of VW Group’s Russia business, has been appointed the group’s sales chief and head of the VW brand in China.
VW Group also hired Marcus Hafkemeyer, a senior strategy advisor at Chinese technology giant Huawei’s auto unit, as chief technology officer for its China operations.
VW Group, undermined by the global chip shortage and other supply-chain disruptions caused by a new wave of coronavirus infections, saw its China sales slip 24 percent to some 754,000 in the first quarter.
In 2021, the German auto giant delivered roughly 3.3 million vehicles under various brands in the market, a drop of 14 percent from a year earlier.