Ludwig Willisch, Head of BMW Group Region AmericasEnlarge Photo
BMW will soon execute an executive shuffle: on August 1, Ludwig Willich, Head of BMW Group Region Americas, will retire after 21 years with the German automaker.
Ludwig has managed all sales, marketing, and distribution activities from Canada to Argentina since 2011. He also held the title of President and CEO of BMW of North America until March of this year, when he handed the reins to executive Bernhardt Kuhnt.
Through his tenure, Willisch has overseen major growth for the BMW brand and over five million cars have been sold under his leadership. The amateur racer always let his passion for competition guide his management style in the pursuit of success.
However, BMW's sales numbers last year fell 9.5 percent in North America. Subsequently, the brand fell from second to third place among luxury brands; Lexus surged to second place while Mercedes-Benz took the top spot. BMW has not come out on top of the great luxury sales race since 2014. Its 2016 sales contraction was shocking, considering that new-car sales actually rose 0.3 percent during the year.
Successor Kunnt will keep BMW competitive across the Americas, who took over the President and CEO duties at BMW North America this past March. Kuhnt's appointment takes effect on August 1, 2017, the day Willisch sets out for retirement.