VW of America lands Hyundai’s Hatami to take over top sales, marketing job

on Jun8

At VW, Derrick Hatami follows Mark McNabb, who became CEO of VW subsidiary Electrify America in February.

Volkswagen of America has named former Hyundai executive Derrick Hatami — who abruptly departed Hyundai Motor America this week — as its new head of U.S. sales and marketing.

Hatami, 44, left Hyundai after a two-year stint as its U.S. sales chief. His departure was announced on Tuesday to Hyundai employees and dealers, but the announcement did not indicate with whom he had accepted another job. Hatami will start at Volkswagen of America on Monday as its executive vice president for sales and marketing.

In the new position, Hatami “will be responsible for setting and driving the sales, marketing, product planning and aftersales strategy for Volkswagen of America in order to help promote growth, improve processes and elevate dealer satisfaction,” VW said in a statement.

At VW, Hatami follows Mark McNabb, who became CEO of VW subsidiary Electrify America in February. In that role, McNabb will manage the $2 billion investment in U.S. electrical infrastructure that VW committed to make as part of its settlement with state and federal regulators over its diesel emissions scandal.

“We are excited to welcome Derrick at Volkswagen of America,” Hinrich Woebcken, CEO of Volkswagen of America, said in a written statement. “His proven record of leadership experience in the automotive industry will serve as an asset as we work towards growth in the U.S. market.”

Hatami was selected as an Automotive News Rising Star in 2016. He had joined Hyundai in 2005 and worked his way up to general manager of the western region, but left in January 2014 to become Nissan’s sales chief, a role he held until September 2015, when he returned to Hyundai to replace Bob Pradzinski as vice president of sales.

Hatami’s move comes as the U.S. sales of VW and Hyundai are heading in different directions.

Hyundai’s U.S. sales through May are down 7.5 percent to 283,547 units, and have dropped for six consecutive months year over year. Those numbers exclude the new Genesis luxury division, which has sold 8,306 units this year.

Meanwhile, VW sales in the U.S. have risen as it recovers from its diesel-emissions scandal. Through May, VW brand sales are up 6.9 percent to 133,861 units.

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