At the very start of Volkswagen‘s self proclaimed journey to become the number one automaker in the world, the head of its incredibly important U.S. division has departed – for Volvo no less.
VW has confirmed to members of the press that Stefan Jacoby is no longer with the German automaker. The word was spread at the launch of the incredibly important new Jetta, a vehicle that was tailor made for the U.S. market after decades where Volkswagen unsuccessfully tried to sell its European models to the North American mass market.
Reports emerged several weeks ago that Jacoby was leaving for Volvo and while there’s no official confirmation that he will start at the now Chinese-owned Swedish automaker, it was obvious from an earlier VW press release that the German’s didn’t want him to leave and that negotiations were ongoing.
The move to Volvo seems a strange one, with the Swedish brand’s future uncertain under the new ownership of Chinese automaker Geely. However, Geely seems to have a big plan for Volvo with serious investments planned. That investment would now seem to include Jacoby, along with his knowledge of the Chinese maketplace (after having worked for VW in China), not to mention what is likely a rather significant salary.
And while Jacoby’s move seems risky, the decision to stay with Volkswagen might have been equally so, with the automaker setting forth seemingly unattainable goals for the U.S. market in the next few years. Or perhaps Jacoby just didn’t like VW’s decision to abandon its European focus in favor of a Toyota strategy to sell economical cars.