After stints at several of the world’s major mainstream automakers, Jonathan Browning will assume the role left vacant by Stefan Jacoby at Volkswagen of America as CEO. The younger former Jaguar executive pictured at right will assist Volkswagen’s U.S. division, as part of the company in the process of rapidly expanding its global presence.
Browning came to VW with prior experience from time at General Motors, Ford, and Jaguar. He held sales, marketing, and executive positions at those companies, and most recently worked in a different post at the company, for the global directing of the Volkswagen Group’s National Sales Companies.
“The U.S. is a place in which I feel very much at home,” Browning said at a press conference. “I’m pleased to be heading back to the U.S. to take on [a] very exciting challenge.”
At the conference, Browning spoke of personal memories with Volkswagen, making reference to icons like the Beetle and Microbus. He emphasized the connection the next New Beetle will have with the U.S. market.
“Our task is not only to create [an] emotional connection with the U.S consumers,” Browning said. “It’s about bringing to life the commitment Volkswagen is making to the U.S.”
His appointment comes after the introduction of the 2011 Jetta sedan, and before the introduction of the upcoming, made-in-America midsize sedan. He talked about improving VW’s American dealer network, ensuring a strong launch of the new Jetta, and “sustained improvement” in customer perception of Volkswagen.
Between Jacoby’s departure and Browning’s appointment, Mark Barnes and Michael Lohscheller were in charge of the U.S. operations for just over two months.