Volkswagen appoints sales chief

Volkswagen Group has promoted Georg Flandorfer to take control of sales and marketing for its core Volkswagen brand worldwide.

As the Volkswagen brand board of management member responsible for sales and marketing, Flandorfer will report directly to Volkswagen Group chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder.

Flandorfer, an Austrian, takes the position of Detlef Wittig, who moves to become chairman of Skoda Auto in the Czech Republic. Skoda is owned by Volkswagen, along with the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Seat marques.

Earlier this year, Pischetsrieder appointed former Mitsubishi Europe president Stefan Jacoby to the VW board to oversee sales and marketing across its portfolio of brands (MW March 11).

Volkswagen’s brand strategy has been questioned following poor sales of the Phaeton, a luxury Mercedes rival retailing for up to &£60,000, and a lukewarm reception for the fifth-generation Golf.

Volkswagen will launch a GTI version of the Golf in November, with sales in the UK starting early next year. The company will also launch a replacement for the Passat executive saloon in 2005, which will be followed by a coupé convertible. The cars feature a new design identity based around a large and distinctive “W”-shaped front grill.

A slump in sales has forced Volkswagen to announce cost-cutting plans and it is locked in pay negotiations with unions in Germany.

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