Carl Hahn, VW CEO who led automaker’s China expansion, dies at 96

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Within the course of Hahn’s decade-lengthy tenure, VW constructed factories in China, established the Beetle as an American pop custom icon, and began Audi’s transition to the comely-vehicle segment.

January 15, 2023 07:24 AM


Carl Hahn in 2021 with the FIVA Hall of Fame Award recognizing his contribution to the worldwide construction of the automobile.

Carl Hahn, who led Volkswagen Workforce’s worldwide expansion within the Eighties, died on Saturday. He changed into 96.

Hahn died in his sleep at his home in Wolfsburg, consistent with a spokeswoman from his charitable foundation. A ceremony is deliberate for Jan. 24.

Born in Chemnitz in eastern Germany in 1926, Carl Horst Hahn Jr studied enterprise administration and economics, receiving a doctorate from the College of Bern.

From our archives

He joined VW in 1954 and grew to turn out to be its chief in 1982. Within the course of his decade-lengthy tenure, VW constructed factories in China, obtained Seat in Spain and Skoda within the Czech Republic, and expanded into ragged communist East Germany.

“Till then we possess been too centered on Germany, we possess been a national firm. As a substitute of for the American citizens, there possess been no worldwide producers,” Hahn stated in a 2020 interview with Automotive Recordsdata Workforce’s German language publication Automobilwoche.

“We began with Seat and possess been ready to salvage Volkswagen out of a crisis when we possess been easiest shedding money in our German factories,” he stated.

Hahn also began Audi’s transition to the comely-vehicle segment.

Within the 1960s, Hahn led VW’s enterprise within the U.S. and helped achieve the Beetle as an icon of American pop custom. Disagreements over system ended in his departure to tire-maker Continental in 1972 sooner than returning 10 years later.

After being succeeded as Volkswagen CEO by Ferdinand Piech in 1992, Hahn served yet every other five years on the firm’s supervisory board.

Hahn chronicled his occupation within the autobiography “My Years With Volkswagen,” printed in 2005.  

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