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Volkswagen Names Thomas Ulbrich to Lead Technical Development in China

Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is a law graduate and freelance journalist with a keen interest in tech reporting.

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The Volkswagen Group is reinforcing its commitment to the Chinese market by strengthening its Technical Development Board function. As part of its strategy for China, the Group has appointed Thomas Ulbrich, a former Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Brand for New Mobility, to helm Technical Development in China starting April 1, 2024.

This appointment signifies a pivotal moment in the Group’s pursuit of technological localization and advancement tailored to the Chinese automotive landscape.

Ralf Brandstätter, Volkswagen AG for the China region and CEO of Volkswagen Group China, said the strategy aims to achieve a high degree of localization to meet the specific preferences of Chinese customers.

The Volkswagen Group’s ‘In China, for China’ strategy is about systematically adapting to the dynamic changes taking place in China’s automotive industry. A high degree of localization will allow us to cater to the wishes of our Chinese customers. I would like to thank Marcus Hafkemeyer, whose outstanding personal commitment and broad expertise in China have really moved forward Technical Development’s regional focus, for example through the establishment of our new development center in Hefei, – Ralf Brandstätter.

“Thomas Ulbrich, one of our top development and software experts, will now continue to advance the localization and networking of our Group’s development activities in the region. Ulbrich has exceptional expertise in important future technologies and excellent connections in the company and the China region. One of his priorities will therefore be to further strengthen the collaboration with our joint venture companies FAW-Volkswagen, SAIC Volkswagen and Volkswagen Anhui. I firmly believe that this will be an important source of impetus in our transformation to smart e-mobility”, he added.

Meet Thomas Ulbrich, Volkswagen’s New Technical Development Head in China

Thomas Ulbrich, Volkswagen’s new head of Technical Development in China, boasts a diverse career spanning various leadership roles within the automotive industry. After studying automotive engineering at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Ulbrich commenced his journey in 1992 in plant logistics at Wolfsburg. His managerial ascent began in 1995, eventually leading him to become the head of logistics at FAW-Volkswagen in Changchun, China, in 1996.

Over the years, Ulbrich took on pivotal responsibilities, including overseeing assembly segment II at the Wolfsburg plant and serving as head of plant logistics at Emden by 1999. His technical expertise shone at AUTO 5000 GmbH in Wolfsburg, where he held the role of technical managing director and speaker of the management board from 2001 to 2008.

Subsequently, Ulbrich became a Board of Management member for Production at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in Hannover in 2008. In 2010, he joined SAIC VOLKSWAGEN in China as Technical Executive Vice President, managing development, production, and logistics. He later led Production and Logistics until 2018, then E-Mobility. Since 2021, he has been a key member of the Brand Board of Management.

Ulbrich will lead technical development and be CEO of Volkswagen China Technology Company (VCTC) in Hefei, focusing on developing specific models for China and reducing time to market through efficient processes and advanced technologies. The New Mobility department has been restructured to Technical Development, enhancing efficiency and networking within the Group, with Ulbrich’s previous role focusing on electric vehicle software development.


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