GA Trade Sep-Oct Interactive - page 8

V
olkswagen, Germany’s biggest
car company, has created some
of themost iconicmotorized vehicles
over the past 70 years. If you belong
to the post-WWII German baby
boomers, chances are overwhelm-
ingly high that your first
car was aVolkswagenBeetle.
Sales volumes of the quirky air-
cooled vehicle even overtook Ford’s
Model T. The car became an icon
and it literally ran for decades.
Themodel that succeeded the first
German “people’s car” was equally
successful and gave its name to
an entire era –GenerationGolf.
Steadily increasing demand for
Volkswagen’s products drove the
expansion of the company. Therefore,
it comes as no surprise that Volkswa-
gen recently overtookGeneral Motors
as the second biggest carmanufac-
turer in theworld. Volkswagen,
however, does not stop there; recent
expansions and acquisitions are proof
of a clear goal: the top.
Today, the company operates 106
production plants in 19 European
countries and another eight in the
Americas, Asia andAfrica. In the
U.S., VolkswagenGroup has a strong
presence with its subsidiary Volkswa-
genGroup of America (Audi, Bentley,
Bugatti, Lamborghini, Volkswagen)
plus the brands Porsche and Ducati.
Headquartered inHerndon, VA, the
subsidiary employs over 6,000
workers throughout the United States
in nearly thirty locations. In the U.S.
alone, VolkswagenGroup of America
relies on a network of approximately
1,000 dealers tomake their cars and
SUVs accessible to the U.S. customer.
The Americanmarket is an important
factor for the company’s success.
Based strongly onU.S. consumer
demands, Volkswagen brought
forward a futuristic SUV concept
study in January 2013. The “Cross-
Blue”midsized SUV concept received
much positive feedback from the
press and the public, which left many
hoping for it to go into production.
The calls were heard, as in July this
year, Volkswagen announced that it
will realize the prototype study and
that its newmidsize SUVwill be
produced in the Chattanooga,
Tennessee plant. SinceMay 2011,
Volkswagen has been producing the
new Passat in Tennesseewith a
capacity of 150,000 vehicles per year.
The production of the newmodel will
be integrated into existing plant
structures. The expansion of the
Chattanooga plant comes with a $600
million investment byVolkswagen,
which is planned to create approxi-
mately 2,000 additional jobs.
A newmodel lined up and expan-
sions of the U.S. production facility
also came with a change of leader-
ship. As of January 2014, Michael
Horn holds the position of President
and CEO of VolkswagenGroup of
America as well as President for
Volkswagen of America.
C O V E R S T O R Y
InterviewwithMichael Horn, President &
CEO of VolkswagenGroup of America
Der CEO andDas Auto
By: JanVater, GACC
MichaelHorn
8
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