BERLIN -- Volkswagen Group is replacing the head of its key China operations, company sources told Automotive News Europe sister publication Automobilwoche.
VW Group China CEO Stephan Woellenstein will leave the post on Feb. 1, the sources said. Woellenstein has held the post for three years.
China is by far VW Group's most important market, accounting for 40 percent of its global vehicle sales, but the group is running well behind planned growth.
Sales of VW's ID full-electric models are weaker than expected in China, the world's biggest EV market.
VW aimed to sell between 80,000 and 100,000 ID vehicles in China this year but sold 47,200 through September compared with 208,800 in Europe, according to a company statement released on Oct 15.
The automaker blames the sluggish volume on the global chip shortage that is hampering production worldwide.
VW Group CEO Herbert Diess told a staff meeting in October the Volkswagen brand had lost 27 percent of planned output so far this year.
"In China, our joint ventures have lost almost 30 percent, and Skoda is down 32 percent," Diess told managers.
Diess has demanded new approaches to marketing and selling vehicles in China where he says EV customers are much younger than the automaker's traditional customer base.
VW had another setback in China when sales of the Passat fell after the sedan performed badly in an unofficial safety test carried out by an insurance industry group.
VW declined to comment on Woellenstein. The automaker is expected to announce his successor soon, sources said.