Audi appoints new chief for China operations

August 1, 2018 17:11 CET

BEIJING — Audi has appointed Thomas Owsianski as new president of the brand in China, where its sales lag premium rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Owsianski, 51, replaces Joachim Wedler who has served as the Volkswagen Group luxury brand’s China chief since 2015. Wedler will retire by the end of this year after 34 years with Audi.

The appointment was effective as of Wednesday, according to Audi.

Owsianski was previously head of sales and marketing for Volkswagen’s operations in Brazil and also had a broader role as a member of Volkswagen Brazil’s management team.

A Beijing-based spokeswoman for Audi said the leadership change for the brand’s China operations had been planned as part of a leadership succession plan for China.

Audi sales have rebounded in China after a dispute with dealers caused volume to fall last year but the automaker lost its long-time leadership of the luxury car market. In the first half, Mercedes-Benz sales in China rose 16 percent to 340,000. Audi deliveries jumped 20 percent to 306,590. Sales of the BMW and Mini brands increased 2.2 percent to 299,801, according to Automotive News China.

Owsianski previously worked in China from 2014 to 2016 at SAIC Volkswagen Automotive with responsibility for sales and marketing for the Skoda brand. He joined Volkswagen Group in 2012 as Skoda’s global sales and marketing boss after previously holding the same post at Opel.

Automotive News Europe contributed to this report

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