Even as Europe’s largest auto manufacturer, Volkswagen, looks to enhance its market footprint in India, the company continues to witness the exit of senior level management.
Former deputy managing director and the public face of Toyota Kirloskar Motor K K Swamy, who was brought on-board to oversee and assist the India operation, has quit.
Elevated to managing director and vice-president at Volkswagen India after quitting Toyota in mid 2008, he served the company for just about 30 months after being in Toyota Kirloskar for nearly 10 years.
Officials at Volkswagen India confirmed Swamy had put in his papers late last year due to unspecified reasons, while he continued till this year. He could not be contacted despite several attempts.
Swamy, who has more than three decades of experience in the Indian industry, was instrumental in successfully setting up the new project for Toyota Kirloskar at Bangalore in 1997. He also set up an efficient supplier and sales networks for the Japanese company.
His exit is not the first instance where an executive from the level of managing director has quit the company.
Makham Dhalivaal, appointed managing director of Volkswagen passenger cars (India) just after Swamy's appointment, is also believed to have quit the company.
Dhalivaal who was the global director of network development at Bentley Motors has replaced Andreas Prinz at Volkswagen India. He was largely associated with the launch of the Jetta, a D-segment car introduced in 2008.
Volkswagen India officials could not specifically clarify on the reasons behind Dhalivaal's exit. An email to the company remained unanswered.
The exit of the two high-profile executives from Volkswagen has come at a time when the company is just starting to step on gas in the country. With the recent forging of ties with Suzuki Motor Corporation, one of world's largest compact car makers, Volkswagen is due to alter its India strategy for speedier growth.
The company has so far invested close to Rs 4,000 crore in India, a bulk of it going into the 110,000 units per year manufacturing facility. It sells two volume generating model, Polo and Vento, besides Jetta, Passat, Beetle, Phaeton and Touareg in the premium segment.
The former head of SkodaAuto India, Imran Hassen, too, quit the group after differences were reported between him and the management.
From news reports Hassen was forced out of the Volkswagen Group after being in charge for about five years.
His exit came months after Volkswagen's misadventure in Andhra Pradesh where it was planning to have the production plant which was later built at Chakan, Maharashtra.