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Audi names new R&D chief

Returning: Ulrich Hackenberg will take over from Wolfgang Duerheimer as global research and chief next month.

Hackenberg back in top technical job at Audi AG as Duerheimer set for new role at VW

Audi logo24 Jun 2013

AUDI has named Ulrich Hackenberg as its new global research and development chief, replacing Wolfgang Duerheimer who will move to another position within the Volkswagen Group after less than a year in the job.

Currently head of development for the Volkswagen brand, Mr Hackenberg returns to Audi after 15 years as the driving force behind technical development at Volkswagen and Rolls-Royce/Bentley.

In the late 1980s, he was in charge of ‘concept definition’ at Audi and was later responsible for the technical project management of the entire product range.

In this new role, which becomes effective on July 1, Mr Hackenberg will be responsible for not only technical development at Audi but across all Volkswagen Group brands.

Mr Duerheimer was in charge of Bentley and Bugatti before taking over the key R&D role at Audi last September, replacing Michael Dick and charged with driving development at the fast-growing and highly profitable four-ringed brand, which is central to the VW Group’s strategy of becoming the world’s number-one motor company by 2018.

“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,” said Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler.

“This strengthens the role of our brand within the overall group.” Mr Stadler also thanked Mr Duerheimer for his “dedicated performance”, particularly in areas regarding future mobility.

Mr Duerheimer’s new position is still to be specified, although VW has announced that Heinz-Jakob Neusser, who currently heads VW powertrain development, will replace Mr Hackenberg as head of development at the VW brand.

Bloomberg cites German news outlet Der Spiegel as reporting that Mr Duerheimer was forced to leave after pushing for cost savings and causing friction among Audi’s development team by threatening to withdraw projects such as work on high-performance engines.

His appointment last year was part of an “extensive structural and management realignment” for VW’s global operations that placed greater emphasis on Audi, the Chinese market and commercial vehicles.

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