New head of marketing: VW sends Jochen Sengpiehl to China

Jochen Sengpiehl (second from right), who is primarily responsible for marketing at VW, alongside group manager Herbert Diess (left), e-mobility manager Silke Bagschik and design chief Klaus Bischoff on the electric car model ID. 3

In what is by far the most important market of Volkswagen, the Wolfsburg-based company is no longer running smoothly – and this is putting the entire group at risk.

First of all, Volkswagen must urgently increase the attractiveness of the new ID Stromer line of cars and perceive it as a cool brand among young drivers in the Middle Kingdom.

After Ralf Brandstätter, who is still the head of the main brand, who resolves the problem, marketing manager Jochen Sengpiehl is sent to China. Business Insider knows the details.

Jochen Sengpiehl, longtime head of marketing at Volkswagen, a car manufacturer based in Wolfsburg, intends to change his career from Wolfsburg and Berlin to VW Group China (VGC) in Beijing. Business Insider found out about this from various sources within the Wolfsburg Group.

Therefore, the 53-year-old business economist wants to follow Ralf Brandstätter, a contemporary of VW brand boss, to the Middle Kingdom in the summer to strengthen the weakening brand with new impulses. China is by far Volkswagen’s most important market. Brandstätter, who has also been a member of the VW Group Management Board since the beginning of the year (from “Volkswagen Passenger Cars”), will take over the “China” division of the highest operating body on August 1.

car brand competition

Sengpiehl brings with it significant experience. The former deco player has developed not only a “new brand design” for the Chinese VW sub-brand “Jetta”, which was launched in 2019, but also a European launch campaign for the ID.Stromera from Volkswagen. First of all, VW CEO Herbert Diess’ hopes for a sustainable restart in China are based on electric cars from this model family. VW should regain greater attractiveness, especially among younger customers in the competition with rivals such as Nio, Tesla and Toyota.

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Currently, the advertisement “ID. Buzz ”a lot of attention, developed by VW Creative Director Sengpiehl and his team. In its biggest campaign in ten years, the Wolfsburg-based company relies on a virtual alliance with the cinematic heroes of the new series “Obi-Wan Kenobi”, which has been broadcast on the paid Disney + channel since 27 May. this year.

These car models in the style of the Star Wars

These car models in the style of the Star Wars “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series were developed by Volkswagen based on the electric vehicle ID. Buzz developed for the Star Wars Celebration event.

In the inaugural short film for the all-electric “ID. Buzz ”also includes Ewan McGregor, who has gained worldwide fame for his role as a Jedi Master. The actor is now also on the way as official ambassador of the Volkswagen brand. Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic are partners for the video clips.

“ID campaign. Buzz, which is already a huge success, can probably be seen as a Sengpiehl masterpiece, ”said the Wolfsburg director in an interview with Business Insider. “If he soon succeeds in such a feat in China, I don’t have to worry about how we are perceived there.”

The acclaimed “Forbes Entrepreneurial CMO List: 2022” of the American business magazine lists Jochen Sengpiehl in its “Top 50”. One of the reasons it has made it to the list of the best is the development of a digital website ecosystem for 130 VW stores, which Sengpiehl and his people have managed in record time, according to observers.

According to reports, Sengpiehl will also be responsible for the marketing activities of the three joint ventures VW maintains with other companies in the country as the new “Chinese Marketing Director”. Sengpiehl knows the internals of important VW competitors thanks to previous assignments at Nissan, Daimler and Hyundai. Sales director Klaus Zellmer leaves the Volkswagen passenger car division and will be head of the Czech brand VW Škoda Auto based in Mladá Boleslav. Zellmer’s successor in Wolfsburg is Imelda Labbé. Business Insider was the first to report both personal data. One of Labbé’s first management decisions is looking for a replacement for a global marketing manager.

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