BMW North America CEO Bernhard Kuhnt, 49, is leaving the U.S. to run the automaker's German business.
Sebastian Mackensen, a former Volkswagen Group executive with U.S. market experience, will take over as head of North America effective Sept. 1, BMW said Friday.
In his new position, Mackensen will manage all sales, marketing and distribution activities for the BMW Group from Canada to Argentina, in addition to serving as president & CEO for BMW of North America.
Mackensen, is a senior vice president and head of BMW's German market. Previously, he ran BMW's Mini unit.
Mackensen has extensive experience in North America. He was Audi's sales chief for the Americas region for five years.
Before that, he held management roles in customer relations and business development at Porsche Cars North America.
In his new role, Mackensen must steer BMW through the lingering effects of the COVID pandemic and this year's microchip supply shortage. Meanwhile, BMW is gearing up to take its battle with Mercedes to a new front in the U.S. — electric vehicles. Early next year, BMW will introduce two electric models in the first quarter of 2022 — the i4 four-door fastback and the iX midsize crossover.
BMW expects electrified vehicles, including plug-in hybrids, to account for about a fourth of its U.S. sales in the next five years, Kuhnt told Automotive News earlier this year.
"We believe customers are going in this direction," Kuhnt said. "There's a higher interest in electrified vehicles than there has been before."