General Motors hires away Volkswagen marketing exec to sell Chevrolets

DETROIT – General Motors has hired an executive from red-hot Volkswagen to lead the marketing of its most important brand.

Tim Mahoney, VW’s chief product and marketing officer since 2011, will start work April 1 as global head of marketing for the Chevrolet brand. He’ll also be responsible for overall co-ordination of GM’s global marketing, the company said in a statement Monday.

General Motors Co.’s top marketing post has been vacant since last July, when the company forced Joel Ewanick to step down. Its marketing efforts so far have failed to substantially boost U.S. sales. The Detroit automaker reported a 4 per cent U.S. sales increase last year while overall U.S. auto sales rose 13 per cent.

VW, on the other hand, has seen sales grow across the globe, especially in the U.S. Volkswagen Group’s sales rose almost 31 per cent in the U.S. last year.

GM Chairman and CEO Daniel Akerson said recently that marketing likely will be done by each of GM’s brands rather than by the overall company. But it was unclear if Ewanick’s position will be filled. Mahoney will report to U.S. Vice-President of Sales and interim global marketing chief Alan Batey.

In his new post, Mahoney will implement Chevrolet’s new marketing platform with the tagline of “Find New Roads.” This year is an important one for Chevy, with plans to roll out 20 new models worldwide. Last year 4.95 million Chevrolets were sold worldwide, by far GM’s largest brand.

Before VW, Mahoney worked for Subaru of America and Porsche Cars of North America, GM said in the statement.