Meet the CEO: VW veteran Jürgen Unser to head Audi in China
Meet the CEO: VW veteran Jürgen Unser to head Audi in China
By Kate Birch
By Kate Birch
Seasoned senior Volkswagen executive Jürgen Unser will become Audi’s new China president, as the company expands Audi’s output and sales in China
Seasoned senior Volkswagen executive Jürgen Unser will become Audi’s new China president, as the company expands Audi’s output and sales in China

Jürgen Unser, a senior executive at Volkswagen Group’s joint venture with China FAW Group, has been appointed Audi’s new China president, effective January 1, 2022.

A veteran of VW Group, having joined in 2004, Unser is taking over the role from Werner Eichhorn, who is retiring.

In this role, Unser will take over management of Audi AG’s China operations, as the company further expands its presence in the country and focuses on its electrification strategy.

“With Jürgen Unser, we now want to focus on the aim of helping to shape the mobility of the future in China and implementing our electrification strategy for Audi AG’s biggest market in cooperation with our Chinese partners,” Markus Duesmann, CEO of Audi AG said in a statement. “In Jürgen Unser, we are handing over direction of our operative business in China to an expert who will have a key role in implementing our future strategy in China.”

Rising sales for Audi in China

This appointment comes in the wake of rising sales for Audi in China, as the first three quarters of 2021 saw Audi’s China deliveries improve 9.9% to 563,600, according to VW Group. This comes hot on the heels of record-breaking sales for Audi in China in 2020 – up 5.4% y-o-y.

VW Group started assembling Audi models at FAW-VW in 1996 and the brand has been among the top-selling luxury marques in the country for many years. 

To expand Audi’s output and sales in China, the German group started building Audi models at a partnership with SAIC Motor in September. The first Audi model built at SAIC-VW is the elongated Audi A7 sedan, set to go on sale in early 2022.

Dr Jürgen Unser – from Mercedes-Benz to VW Group

Not only is Unser a VW Group veteran, having spent 18 years with the automaker, but he has expertise in China’s market having spent eight years working for the firm in China, from 2012 to 2019.

A mechanical engineer, Unser joined VW Group in 2004 following eight years spent with Mercedes Benz AG and at DaimlerChrysler AG where he held a number of management positions.

For the first nine years at VW Group, Unser held positions of responsibility in production at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, at Audi, and in Group production planning and strategy.

Appointed to executive level in 2013, Unser relocated to China as technical VP and a member of the executive board of FAW-Volkswagen Co. Ltd. In Changchun.

Over the next seven years, under Unsen’s technical leadership, FAW-Volkswagen experienced a phase of rapid growth witnessing a significant expansion of technical development. During this time, a total of 10 new factories went into operation, including the Audi production sites at Foshan, Tianjin and Qingdao, and Unser was involved in more than 30 product launches.

Returning to VW Group HQ, Wolfsburg, Germany, in 2019, as head of the transformation office, Unser undertook the conclusion of the Future Pact and the Roadmap Digital Transformation, a transformation program relating to the plans in Emden and Wolfsberg. 

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