Volkswagen Extends C.E.O. Martin Winterkorn’s Contract

The executive who has set the goal of turning Volkswagen into the world’s largest automaker by 2018 has job security through 2016, Volkswagen AG announced on Monday.

Martin Winterkorn’s contract, which was set to expire at the end of 2011, was renewed unanimously by the company’s board.

Mr. Winterkorn is the architect of Volkswagen’s so-called Strategy 2018, which, if realized, would deliver annual global sales of 10 million units across VW Group’s passenger-car brands by 2018, outpacing the current global leader by sales volume, Toyota.

His tenure, which began in 2007, has been nothing if not dynamic. Among his first actions was the appointment of a new global design chief, Walter de’Silva, to steer design across the group’s brands. Mr. de’Silva had previously overseen design at VW Group brand Audi, where he penned the current R8 sports car and A6 sedan.

Perhaps Mr. Winterkorn’s most significant political challenge has involved Porsche. The brand ceded effective control to VW Group, ending a long and at times confusing courting ritual, whereby Porsche moved from a plan to acquire the German conglomerate outright to relying on the larger company’s superior financial position to remain viable through the recession.

Mr. Winterkorn is presiding over a rapid expansion of production capabilities, with two new assembly plants coming online in China and another recently completed in Chattanooga, Tenn., where the successor to the current Passat midsize sedan will be built.

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