WASHINGTON, June 8 (Reuters) - Volkswagen AG’s U.S. unit said on Thursday it is naming a former Hyundai Motor Co executive to head its sales and marketing operation.
Derrick Hatami is joining Volkswagen of America as executive vice president for sales and marketing. Hatami had been sales chief for Hyundai’s U.S. unit until recently and had previously worked at Nissan Motor Co.
Volkswagen is rolling out a series of new SUVs in the United States as demand surges for larger vehicles and it looks to boost lagging U.S. VW brand sales.
VW, the largest automaker worldwide by sales, started selling its new seven-seat VW Atlas SUV in May.
Volkswagen Group of America Chief Executive Officer Hinrich Woebcken told reporters in April the German automaker is shifting focus in the United States from a mainly car brand to a “family friendly” automaker offering larger, U.S.-built SUVs.
VW’s U.S. brand sales are up 7 percent through May, after falling 8 percent in 2016 and 5 percent in 2015 after it was barred from selling diesel vehicles as part of its emissions scandal.
The company has vowed to shift its focus toward adding more electric vehicles and has no plans to unveil new U.S. diesel models. It is selling off 12,000 2015 diesel cars that until recently it had been barred by U.S. regulators from selling. (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)