NEW YORK -- Volkswagen restructures its North American operations in conjunction with celebrating four decades in the U.S. market. The restructuring, along with a new youth-focused advertising campaign is designed to "make our comeback story a real one," says Dr. Jens Neumann, a Volkswagen AG board member in charge of North American operations.

Dropping its tradition of dry, simple advertising just in time for its 40th anniversary, VW of America began its new, flashy ad campaign July 20.

VWA is trying hard to recapture U.S. sales it has lost in a steady decline from a peak of 596,696 in 1970 to 293,595 in 1980 to just 49,533 in 1992. Sales jumped to 97,043 in 1993, and the automaker hopes to continue the upward trend. VW's restructuring unifies the U.S. and Canada into a sin-gle marketing region with the same management. This will reduce fixed costs and hierarchy. VW will install a lean strategic leadership team with more power given to 55 field teams working with dealers.

The VW executive forecasts sales of 200,000 units in the U.S. and Canada next year. This will not only put VW operations in North America in the black, it will also enable the regional operation to self-fund needed investments, he says.