Former Chrysler Troubleshooter To Head VW Brand

By Agence France-Presse Volkswagen (VW), Europe's biggest car maker, said Oct. 6 it has appointed Wolfgang Bernhard, one of the men credited with helping turn around DaimlerChrysler's loss-making Chrysler unit, to its management board where he will be in charge of the VW brand. Bernhard, 44, formerly No. 2 at Chrysler, has a reputation as a no-nonsense cost-cutter. A former rising star within DaimlerChrysler, Bernhard had originally been promised the top job at the group's prestigious Mercedes division. But that post was abruptly yanked from him because his aggressive tactics ruffled feathers with the union and top managers. VW said in a statement that Bernhard would be appointed a full member of its management board, initially without portfolio, Feb. 1, 2005. Bernhard would then take up the post of head of the VW brand "no later than Jan. 1, 2006." VW chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder said, "We are delighted that such a respected expert on our industry and experienced automotive manager will be joining our group." VW is currently battling against falling sales and earnings in the face of slack demand, price wars in the U.S. and increased competition in the key market of China. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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