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VW Names New Global Marketing Boss

Former Nissan Europe Sales and Marketing Chief Simon Thomas Succeeds Juergen Stackmann

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Volkswagen Group named its U.K. chief, Simon Thomas, head of global marketing for the group and for the company's core VW brand.

The move comes as the automaker's performance has been on the upswing, with increased demand in the U.S. and China for its cars.

Mr. Thomas will play an important role in helping VW Group to meet its Strategy 2018 goals, a spokesman told Automotive News Europe, a sibling publication of Advertising Age. As part of the strategy, VW aims to surpass Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Co. to become the world's top-selling automaker.

The 53-year-old Mr. Thomas joined VW in 2011 from Nissan where he was European head of sales and marketing. He succeeds Juergen Stackmann, 51, who was appointed CEO of VW's Spanish unit Seat in May.

As part of his responsibilities, he'll coordinate marketing activities with the marketing bosses of VW Group's individual brands, the spokesman said. VW's brands include VW, Skoda and Seat, as well as Audi, Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini.

Mr. Thomas will report to Christian Klinger, VW Group board member for sales and marketing, and takes up the new role on Sept. 1.

He began his automotive career as an apprentice technician in 1976 at a Ford dealership, later joining the Austin Rover Group, then Nissan UK. He was appointed Nissan Europe's senior vice president of sales and marketing in 2009 during a period of revival for the automaker in the region.

VW Group's six-month global sales increased by 5.5% year-on-year to a record 4.7 million units as strong demand in China and the United States offset weak European sales.

The automaker aims to boost annual vehicle sales to 10 million by 2018, up from 9.07 million last year.

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