Ford hires VW alum Sander to overtake its European EV expansion plan

Aftermarket equipment shown. Preproduction Ford F-150 Lightning with optional equipment shown. Available starting spring 2022.

Ford of Europe has announced that Martin Sander has been appointed to General Manager of Passenger Vehicles and Chair of the Management Board of Ford-Werke GmbH. Sander will take his post on June 1, 2022.

“Ford is taking another significant step to accelerate the transformation of its European business and create an entirely fresh product line of electric vehicles and mobility services that are redefining what it means to own and drive Ford,” the company said regarding the hiring of Sander. “Sander’s assignments, which combine two senior leadership positions, reflect Ford’s commitment to build a thriving business around battery electric vehicles in Europe.”

Before he joins Ford Europe in June, Sander will leave his 25-year position with Volkswagen AG, where he was Senior VP of European Sales at Audi.

Sander will not be taking a job from any executives at Ford, as Roelant de Waard and Gunnar Herrmann, who previous held the position, both elected to retire at the end of 2021. Sander will be directly reporting to Stuart Rowly, President of Ford Europe, who had plenty of good things to say about Ford’s newest executive.

“Martin is a highly experienced leader with a wealth of global experience,” Rowley said. “His drive, leadership and new thinking will speed the transformation of our passenger vehicle business in Europe to provide customers with new connected experiences.”

With Ford’s newfound focus on electric vehicles, which began with the introduction of the Mustang Mach-E in late 2020, Sander will be based in Cologne, Germany, where Ford’s Cologne Electrification Center will begin producing all-electric passenger vehicles in 2023. Sander’s placement at the center of Ford’s electrification focus in Europe puts a message forward that the Detroit-based automaker is also focusing on the highly-competitive European automotive market, which has been a hotspot for electric carmakers as adoption of EVs in the region is amongst the highest on Earth. Europe officially surpassed China in EV adoption in 2020 after a 143% increase in sales of passenger electric cars from 2019, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation.

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Ford hires VW alum Sander to overtake its European EV expansion plan
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