KUALA LUMPUR - Logistics veteran Dr Susanne Lehmann is now managing director for Volkswagen Group in Malaysia, leading the group's supply chain and production in the country as the OEM seeks to increase volume in the country and Southeast Asia.
Lehmann officially took over as managing director of Volkswagen Group Malaysia Sdn Bhd in December, succeeding Antonio Pinto. She is responsible for all operations across Volkswagen Group Malaysia.
Lehmann has worked for the Volkswagen Group since 1996 in a wide range of supply chain, logistics, production and operational roles. She was most recently executive director of logistics at SAIC-Volkswagen, the carmaker's largest joint venture in China, where she oversaw supply chain management during and after the country's pandemic lockdowns, working closely with suppliers and logistics providers to overcome restrictions and congestions across the supply chain. She also oversaw the launch of new production models and increases in electric vehicle production at the joint venture.
Prior to SAIC-VW, Lehmann was senior director of production for the North America Region for Volkswagen in Mexico, also steering the company through Covid shutdowns and recovery, and leading decarbonisation strategies. She has previously held other leading roles in Germany, Mexico and Asia.
"I am happy and grateful to come to this wonderful country as the new managing director. Based on my experience in Europe, America and China, I hope to build on the successful development in the Southeast Asia region," said Lehmann in a statement.
Antonio Pinto, who had led Volkswagen Group Malaysia since October 2021, has taken early retirement according to the company. He joined Volkswagen in 1994 and has held production roles in Portugal, South Africa and North America. He was vice-president of production and logistics at Volkswagen de Mexico and was later head of the carmaker's plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
In Malaysia, Susanne Lehmann will lead highly complex operations, still small in volume terms, but one in which the group is aiming to strengthen its foothold both in the domestic market and in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) trade bloc. The carmaker is currently expanding its dealer network across Malaysia, as well as adding models to its plant with Malaysia's DRB-Hicom in Pekan.
The Volkswagen brand currently offers more upscale models, now selling six models, including the Volkswagen Golf R, Golf GTI and variants of the Tiguan Allspace SUV and Arteon coupe.
This line-up could be set to expand, including the addition of new brands. According to an official statement from Volkswagen Group Malaysia, Lehmann will oversee expansion of new technologies, brands and markets, with the goal to "ensure Malaysia as a future-proof location for ASEAN regions".