AM Online

Willis quits Volkswagen UK for Kia Europe

Paul Willis has quit as director of Volkwagen UK. His replacement is Chris Craft, director of VW Group sister-brand Skoda UK.

Willis resigned in order to take a the post of chief operating officer at Kia Motor Europe. He had been head of Volkswagen UK since joining it in 2000 from Rover. During that period, he took criticism from dealers for the franchise's declining profitability and unfair CSI penalties, however in the past two years he had restored faith in the brand through performance benchmarks, a customer-focused strategy and improved profit opportunities.

This renewed respect of the retail network was made plain by a 10 place climb in dealer satisfaction in the 2007 Sewells' Dealer Attitude Survey, which saw Volkswagen finish 12th of 34 brands.

For Craft it means a return to the brand he departed in 2003 in order to head Skoda. He inherits quite a challenge - last November Willis told AM of Volkwagen UK's target to reach 230,000 annual sales by 2011. That will mean substantial growth on the 197,000 registrations it achieved in 2007.

A new director of Skoda UK is yet to be appointed.

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