FRANKFURT, Germany – Automaker Volkswagen is replacing the head of its U.S. division, which has struggled to reach sales goals.
The company announced last week that Jonathan Browning, 54, was leaving his job as president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America for personal reasons and returning to the U.K.
His replacement is Michael Horn, 51, the companys global head of after-sales service, repair and components. Horn was formerly head of sales for Europe.
Through November, U.S. sales for the Volkswagen brand have fallen more than 5 percent to just under 374,000, while the overall market has grown more than 8 percent.
This years decline came after VW sales skyrocketed more than 30 percent in 2012. But it has lagged this year as overall U.S. sales increased.
The companys top-selling models werent able to match up to those of other automakers in two of the most highly competitive segments of the industry. Sales of the compact Jetta sedan fell 4.4 percent, while Passat midsize sedan sales declined 2.1 percent through November, according to Autodata Corp.
Analyst Thomas Libby at IHS Automotive said that after strong launches of redesigned Passat and Jetta models in the U.S. market, Volkswagen had taken a break in updating its offerings.
There is general agreement that new product is a major factor in performance in the U.S. market, and VW has had a dearth, a pause, in product launches, he said.