Wolfgang Durheimer, Audi Head of Research and Development, Has Left the Company
|   Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Head of Research and Development at Audi, Wolfgang Durheimer has left the company from Ingolstadt. He was replaced by Ulrich Hackenberg, his counterpart from Volkswagen.

Wolfgang Durheimer, head of research and development of the Audi brand left the German company. Durheimer was CEO of the Bentley and Bugatti brands and was leading Audi's technical department since September last year. Many professionals accredited Durheimer as a successor to Martin Winterkorn, the current CEO of the Volkswagen.


In the past, Wolfgang Durheimer worked at BMW and Porsche. The Audi representatives did not comment on the departure of Durheimer. Well placed sources in the Audi's claim that his departure is linked to a reluctance to pursue a strategy to develop 100 percent electric vehicles.

The statement of the source is reinforced by the fact that projects like the 2 Etron and A8 Etron were abandoned. 
Durheimer especially promoted the plug-in hybrid propulsion systems. He consider that they are more advantageous in the long term, in terms of CO2 emissions. It's speculated that the decision was made due to slow progress of Audi's advanced projects. Interesting enough, Durheimer originally replaced the previous Audi R&D chief Michael Dick for a similar motive.

Rupert Stadler, chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, praised Wolfgang Durheimer for the time spent at Audi as intensive work in crucial areas concerning future mobility: "On behalf of the entire Audi Board of Management, I thank Wolfgang Durheimer for his dedicated performance."

Volkswagen leadership did not stand idly all this time, and it has already found a replacement for Durheimer. Talks are going about Ulrich Hackenberg, head of development at Volkswagen, the freshly appointed director of Audi. The new head of research and development at Audi was part of the technical development center since February 2007. But Audi's career began in 1985, it later became the project manager for the entire range Audi. Hackenberg, then moved to Volkswagen, Bentley and Audi, returning then to the brand from Wolfsburg.

Audi boss Rupert Stadler said: "We are delighted that Ulrich Hackenberg, an outstanding engineer and Audi expert, is returning to our brand, and he will also be responsible for the technical development of all the car brands within the Volkswagen Group. This strengthens the role of our brand within the overall Group."

He also confirmed that Hackenberg has a 5-year deal with Audi. Also, he will continue with his other VW Group roles as well.
Durheimer went to Audi last September, having been CEO of Bentley and Bugatti since 2011. In 1999 he was at Porsche, where he oversaw the 911 models and where he played a head role in sending the Porsche Cayenne to production and new, highly profitable heights. 2 years after that, he joined Porsche's board, leading the research and development department. He remained there until 2011, when he took control over Bentley and Bugatti, in addition to controling the VW Group's motorsport involvement, which includes the highly successful Le Mans effort.

So far, Durheimer will "take on other management responsibilities within the Volkswagen Group," said the company. However, is not yet known what role Durheimer will have within the VW Group.
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