Volkswagen Czech units Skoda Automobile has named VW South Africa chief Thomas Schaefer as its new chairman as component of a wider shake-up at the group.

Schaefer replaces Bernhard Maier, who remaining the Czech company final thirty day period soon after just about 5 a long time through which he led the one hundred twenty five-calendar year-outdated Skoda to document earnings, Reuters noted.

Skoda is the Czech Republic’s most significant exporter but its success has often caused friction in just Volkswagen whose labour manager has criticised it for cannibalising income, the information agency said.

It delivered 1.24m cars throughout the world in 2019 with China and Germany as its best markets. Like other carmakers, Skoda is battling to get back from shutdowns due to the coronavirus crisis and now faces uncertainty over demand from customers.

Nonetheless, it said final 7 days it observed indicators of restoration, soon after initially fifty percent deliveries crashed 31% and group chief executive Herbert Diess told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) Skoda – a single of VW’s 12 brand names – needed to do additional to compete with South Korean and French rivals.

Labour unions, customarily robust at Skoda Automobile, told Reuters it was unclear what Schaefer’s appointment would mean for the route of the carmaker.

Schaefer, who took up the publish with fast result, joined VW from Mercedes-Benz in 2012 and has, considering the fact that 2015, headed Volkswagen Team South Africa which creates automobiles and engines largely for export. It strike document output in 2019.

Schaefer also ran VW’s broader African company and spearheaded the progress of assembly hubs in nations around the world which includes Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya, Reuters noted.