published Thursday, June 24th, 2010

VW replaces US chief Stefan Jacoby as contract talks continue

DETROIT — Stefan Jacoby, Volkswagen AG's top U.S. executive, has been replaced as he continues contract talks with the company, and after a report that he's been hired to run Volvo.

Two executives will take over Jacoby's duties while he negotiates with the company, VW said in an unusual statement released Thursday afternoon.

The German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported Thursday that Jacoby, the public face of VW's ambitious U.S. expansion plans, had been hired to run Swedish automaker Volvo. The paper cited only "well informed circles."

Volkswagen is currently building a $1 billion auto assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tn.

Volkswagen's statement, while not confirming that Jacoby was going to Volvo, said that contract talks "have by no means been concluded yet." But it said until his contract is "clarified," Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Michael Lohscheller will lead Volkswagen Group of America, and Mark Barnes, chief operating officer, will run Volkswagen of America.

Ford Motor Co. is selling Volvo to Chinese automaker Geely Holding Group, with the sale due to close in the third quarter.

Volvo spokesman Per-Ake Froberg said the company would have "no comment for the moment."

VW's U.S. expansion plans include construction of a factory in Chattanooga, Tenn., that will build midsize cars.

Volkswagen's U.S. expansion plans include a new factory in Tennessee to build midsize cars. The factory, which will employ about 2,000 people, is scheduled to begin production early next year.

___

Associated Press Writers Dave Rising in Berlin and Ken Thomas in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

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