Ford Authority

Ford Of Europe Boss Martin Sander Resigns, Heads Back To VW

Ford of Europe is currently ramping up production of the all-new electric Ford Explorer and is set to introduce a second EV based on its platform soon. But the Ford executive responsible for bringing the company’s European division into a more electrified age has just resigned and will head back to Volkswagen, where he spent his entire career before joining the Blue Oval.

According to the automaker, Martin Sander has resigned and will leave Ford on June 12th, 2024. Until then, he remains the general manager of Ford Model e Europe, the company’s electric vehicle division. He is also the chairman of Ford-Werke GmbH (Ford Germany). Sander’s base of operations are in Cologne, Germany, not coincidentally the same city where the Cologne Electric Vehicle Center is located. The plant, which just underwent a $2 billion rehabilitation, is now mass producing the Ford Explorer, which utilizes a platform and battery from Volkswagen. Ford said he has been instrumental in leading the introduction of the EV.

Speaking of Volkswagen, the German automaker released its own statement today announcing Sander’s return. He’s set to become Board Member for Sales, Marketing and After Sales at Volkswagen Passenger Cars effective July 1st, 2024. Sander spent 25 years at various positions at VW and Audi before Ford hired him.

While it may seem like VW simply poached Martin Sander from Ford, it is currently unclear if that was the case, or if the split is more amicable. Ford and VW are currently in the middle of a comprehensive partnership originally solidified in 2020 that involves both companies building vehicles for each other, in addition to the technology transfer that allows Ford to build the Explorer at its own assembly plant. Ford already started building the Ford Ranger based VW Amarok and is set to begin manufacturing the Transit Custom based VW Transporter later this year. The next generation Ford Transit Connect, which is based on VW Caddy and built by the German automaker, is currently on sale. Aside from these vehicles, it seems both are keen to continue the partnership as VW Group CEO Oliver Blume stated in early 2023 that the partnership will grow.

Martin Sander departs Ford amid its pivot from battery electric vehicles toward a balanced approach that favors gasoline, hybrid, and fully electric models. Sander himself stated that the EV timetable for Europe has been thrown out, and that the company is leaning toward producing hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles beyond what it originally planned. Ford is planning a similar move in North America, which will offer hybrid options for its of its retail models by 2030.

We’ll report on the latest personnel changes as they happen, so subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford news updates.

Ed owns a 1986 Ford Taurus LX, and he routinely daydreams about buying another one, a fantasy that may someday become a reality.

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