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TORONTO — Pierre Boutin, the head of Volkswagen France, will lead the automaker’s Canadian operations beginning Jan. 1, VW Group Canada said Monday.

Boutin, a Canadian citizen who was previously the head of VW in Russia, follows Daniel Weissland as CEO of VW Canada. Weissland was named president of Audi of America on Sept. 1, less than two years after he took the VW Canada job.

Boutin will join VW Canada as the automaker navigates a declining new-vehicle market and a market-wide shift in consumer demand away from the sedans that once dominated its vehicle lineup. Volkswagen Group’s new-vehicle sales in Canada were down 5.4 per cent this year through October, compared with a 3.8 per cent decline in the overall new-vehicle market.

“It is a tremendous opportunity to be coming back home to lead the transformation of our company with such a talented and dedicated team,” Boutin said in a statement. “The Canadian automotive landscape is rapidly changing, and the Volkswagen Group is looking to play a bigger part.“

Boutin has led VW’s French operations since November 2017. In a news release, VW Canada said Boutin is “leading the organization to its best performance” in seven years in France, and credited him with navigating VW through “its most severe crisis securing brand viability and future investments” during a three-year stint in Russia.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Boutin worked for Nissan for about 10 years before joining VW. Prior to accepting roles with the automaker in Europe, he led Nissan Canada’s aftersales operations from 2006-08 and was a regional director for the company in Montreal from 2003-06.

He started in the automotive industry in 1989 with Ford Motor Co., where he held “sales and marketing management positions” in Canada and Germany until 2003, according to the LinkedIn profile.

Boutin holds a bachelor’s degree with a marketing specialization from Université Laval in Quebec City, according to VW Canada.

VW Canada declined a request for an interview with Boutin.

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