When he takes over as president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America on Nov. 1, Scott Keogh's commute to his Herndon, Virginia, desk will change by two extra flights of stairs.
His daily challenges will get much steeper.
Keogh, 49, has overseen Audi's rise into a premium powerhouse over the past 12 years — half of that time as president and before that, as marketing chief.
But in ceding the Audi reins and taking control of parent VW and its namesake marque across North America, Keogh again faces a struggle to lift a German brand.
Since 2012, Audi's U.S. sales have grown 63 percent, setting an annual sales record every year. The last time VW brand set a U.S. sales record was a half-century ago.
Though VW brand's U.S. sales recovered 5.2 percent in 2017 and have risen 5.5 percent so far in 2018, the marque's 2017 deliveries were still down 22 percent from 2012, before its diesel emissions scandal, and 230,000 below its 1970 peak of 569,000.
Keogh will take over from Hinrich Woebcken, 58, who has been in the role since April 2016. Woebcken, a former BMW executive, will remain as a strategy adviser.
Keogh will be succeeded at Audi on Dec. 1 by his longtime top lieutenant, Mark Del Rosso, 54, who transferred to run the automaker's Bentley unit in North America in 2017 after nine years working alongside Keogh as Audi's COO. A successor to Del Rosso has not been named.
In his new role, Keogh — like Woebcken — will have direct responsibility for the VW brand in the U.S. and legal responsibility for all of Volkswagen Group's operations in North America excluding Porsche, which operates as a separate company.
Keogh was not made available for interviews about his new assignment. But in a statement provided to Automotive News, a sister publication of Automotive News Europe, he said he was honored by the opportunity and feels "a personal responsibility towards our employees, dealers and customers to get this people's-car brand back. The Volkswagen brand deserves a strong position in this market and I want to be part of making that happen."
The comments echo those in a note Keogh sent to Audi dealers Wednesday, Oct. 10, in which he recalled the struggle to build the brand and thanked the dealers and his factory team for helping to boost U.S. sales from 90,116 in 2006 to 226,511 last year.
Along the way, Audi's U.S. deliveries have risen for 107 straight months — a streak that continues today.