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VW, Audi bosses move on

Back from the helm: Volkswagen's Peter Nochar (left) and Graham Hardy from Audi.

Volkswagen and Audi bosses in Australia leave their positions

Volkswagen logo18 Oct 2004

By BRUCE NEWTON and GAUTAM SHARMA

THE managing directors of both Volkswagen Group Australia and Audi Australia are leaving their positions, although the moves are not thought to be linked.

And although Audi will soon join its fellow Volkswagen Group brand at its new Botany headquarters in Sydney, there is little prospect that a PAG-style structure with an overall managing director running both divisions will be created.

VGA managing director Peter Nochar, who came here from the VW Japanese national sales company in 2001, resigned rather than be transferred out of Australia.

But outgoing Audi boss Graham Hardy, by contrast, will stay with the Volkswagen Group and move on to running another national sales company for one of its brands somewhere, although he is not sure where.

Mr Nochar said: "We’ve done all the stuff we set out to do when I started (at VGA). They (VW head office) thought it was time to for me to move on.

"There were murmurings about (sending me to) Dubai. I said I really didn’t want to go anywhere." Mr Nochar said he would consider managerial positions outside the automotive industry.

"I wouldn’t say no to something else, but I haven’t even tidied up my CV yet," he said.

"I’ve had a few twists and turns (in my career), but they always work out for the best." Mr Nochar’s replacement will not be decided until a VGA board meeting in November. For the moment, VGA finance director Rainer Grimm has taken up the role.

Mr Hardy will be replaced by Jörg Hofmann, currently director sales and marketing, Asia and Pacific region.

Mr Hardy, who took up his post in 2001, departs in January.

"I will be moving on to a fresh assignment with the Volkswagen top management structure," Mr Hardy said.

"It’s not yet finalised exactly where, although there are several options on the table." Both men leave their positions as sales look certain to slide backward from 2003 levels, but much of that is being blamed on the dry-up of old models as run-outs extended.

"The Australian market is a very tough one," said Mr Nochar.

"Managing the expectations of head office is very difficult. VGA still has ambitions of selling 20,000 cars a year. The Touareg, new Golf and new Bora (due late next year) will be the key players.

"If I’ve achieved one thing during my tenure, it’s to ensure that our cars are well priced."

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