Hinrich Woebcken, the former CEO of Volkswagen Group's North American operations, is investing in and advising a startup automotive retail and financial technology platform called Digital Motors.
The technology is expected to launch in the first quarter of next year, according to a spokesman.
Digital Motors, of Irvine, Calif., was founded in 2018 by former AutoGravity and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services executives Andy Hinrichs and Nick Stellman. The white-label platform for dealership websites is under development.
Woebcken is not an employee of the company, nor will he be involved in the day-to-day business, the spokesman said. Rather, he will be involved in informing and executing Digital Motors' go-to-market strategy.
Digital Motors would not disclose Woebcken's investment, only to say that he is a minority stakeholder.
Before founding Digital Motors, Hinrichs co-founded AutoGravity, a similar platform that enables customers to shop for a vehicle, select a nearby dealership, choose from up to four finance or lease offers and get preapproved. Participating dealerships receive a fee on the financing, and customers finalize the transaction at the store.
Woebcken took over as VW's regional CEO in April 2016 amid the automaker's diesel emissions scandal. He was replaced in the fall of 2018 by Scott Keogh. His contract officially expired last month.
Woebcken has advised several companies since leaving Volkswagen, according to his LinkedIn profile.
They include autonomous mobility company Beep Inc., of Orlando, and Swiss startup Bestmile, which offers automation platforms for autonomous vehicle fleets. This month, Woebcken founded HWC Group, an automotive investment and advisory firm in Bethesda, Md.
Woebcken is also an investor and adviser to Autosled Inc., a digital vehicle logistics platform based in Dover, Del.
Before leaving VW last year, Woebcken had spent more 30 years in automotive and related manufacturing industries, including nearly 10 years at BMW.