U.S. chief says changing mindset at German HQ key for success
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[January 14, 2014]
DETROIT (Reuters) — Michael Horn, the
German executive tasked with reviving Volkswagen AG's <VOWG_p.DE>
fortunes in the United States, said the recipe for success in North
America is to change the mindset at the company's headquarters in
"We need to push more. Not here, but in Wolfsburg," Horn said,
referring to the German city where Volkswagen is based.
"It's about how to translate the American market in Wolfsburg. They
need to listen to the market, the competitive situation," Horn told
journalists at the Detroit Auto show.
Getting headquarters to listen to U.S. demands depends in part on
having a strong network inside the company, Horn said.
"There are formal organizations and there are informal
organizations," said Horn, who has been with the automaker since
Volkswagen is considering introducing a long-wheelbase version of
its Tiguan compact sports utility vehicle because U.S. customers
want three rows of seats rather than only two, Horn said.
Unlike in Europe, most cars that compete with the VW Passat sedan in
the U.S. market have a rear-view camera fitted as standard, Horn
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Horn said he was open to giving workers at its plant in Chattanooga,
Tennessee, a vote about broader representation of worker rights by
the United Auto Workers union.
"My view is democracy is a very important part of the American
culture, I will accept what the workers eventually will decide to
do," Horn said, declining to elaborate on whether Volkswagen would
seek to offer a non-UAW alternative way to represent worker
(Reporting by Edward Taylor; editing by
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