BERLIN -- Volkswagen Group is replacing the head of its key China operations, company sources told Automotive News Europe sister publication Automobilwoche.
VW Group China CEO Stephan Woellenstein will leave the post on Feb. 1, the sources said. Woellenstein has held the position for three years.
China is by far VW Group's most important market, accounting for 40 percent of its vehicle sales, but the group is running well behind its planned growth.
Sales of VW's ID full-electric models models are weaker than expected in China, the world's biggest EV market.
VW aimed to sell between 80,000 and 100,000 of ID cars in China this year but sold 47,200 through September compared with 208,800 in Europe, according to a company statement released on Oct 15.
The automaker blames the sluggish business on the global chip shortage that is currently hampering production.
VW Group CEO Herbert Diess told a staff meeting in October the Volkswagen brand had lost 27 percent of planned production so far this year. "In China, our joint ventures have lost almost 30 percent, and Skoda is down 32 percent," Diess told managers.
Diess has demanded new approaches to selling in China where he say EV customers are much younger than the autmaker's traditional customer base.
VW had another setbacks in China when sales of its Passat fell after the sedan did badly in an unofficial safety test carried out by an insurance industry body.
VW declined to comment on Woellenstein. The automaker is expected to announce his successor soon, sources said.