Browning quits as head of VW of America

Browning: Leaving for personal reasons.
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Jonathan Browning, a former GM Europe executive, has been replaced as CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, capping a year of struggle for the German brand in the United States.

Michael Horn, 51, will take over for Browning, 54, as president and CEO of the company’s U.S. arm on Jan. 1, VW said Thursday. Horn, who joined VW in 1990, has been head of Volkswagen's global aftersales since 2009.

VW said Browning is leaving the company for personal reasons and is returning to the UK.

Browning, an Englishman, joined GM in 1981. He worked for the automaker's UK unit, Vauxhall, and later was managing director of GM Turkey. From 1997 to 2001, he was Ford Motor Co.'s head of European marketing and then managing director of Jaguar Cars under Ford. In 2001, he returned to GM as vice president of sales, marketing and aftersales for GM Europe. In 2006, he was also appointed chairman of Vauxhall. He was promoted to GM vice president of global sales, service and marketing in 2008.

Browning joined VW in 2010. He steered the U.S. unit to a 23 percent gain in 2011 and a 30 percent advance in 2012.

This year’s sales of VW, Audi, Porsche and Bentley models are up 1 percent in market that’s risen 8 percent. Sales of the namesake VW brand have fallen eight consecutive months.

Automotive News Europe contributed to this report

You can reach Gabe Nelson at gnelson@crain.com.

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