Volkswagen Says Macht Leaving Post as Head of Production

Volkswagen AG, Europe’s biggest carmaker, said Michael Macht is stepping down as its head of production amid the manufacturer’s effort to increase profitability at its namesake brand.

Macht, 53, is leaving the management-board post immediately on mutual agreement, and will be succeeded on an interim basis by Thomas Ulbrich, who runs carmaking at the VW nameplate, Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen said in a statement today. Macht took the position four years ago after working since 1990 for Porsche AG, the Stuttgart, Germany-based sports-car producer that has been part of the group since 2009.

“Michael Macht has taken the Volkswagen production system further forward,” Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said in the statement. “We would like to thank him for his achievements.”

Winterkorn laid out plans last month to cut costs by 5 billion euros ($6.7 billion) through 2017 at the Volkswagen brand to catch up with the competition. Second-quarter earnings before interest and taxes fell 3.1 percent, dragged down by a 37 percent plunge at the namesake brand. The CEO is shifting focus to profitability after emphasizing growth in deliveries in his strategy to outpace Toyota Motor Corp. as the world’s biggest carmaker by sales.