Forty years ago, a teenage Hinrich Woebcken spent a year as an exchange student with an American family near Rochester, New York, going to class in an American school, soaking up American culture, being American in every way — at least in spirit.
"I even went to the prom," the German national recalls with a grin.
That experience was transformational; the metal shop at Churchville-Chili Senior High School inspired Woebcken to pursue industrial engineering.
Now the 57-year-old CEO of Volkswagen Group of America wants his company to undergo the same type of transformation. After two years spent righting a troubled ship, Woebcken has a new goal: turning his organization into an American car company — at least in spirit.