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Executive damage at the Volkswagen Group isn’t over yet according to a report from the German publication Bild. Confirmation from Volkswagen has yet to be made, but the Bild report suggests Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg (Audi’s head of R&D) and Wolfgang Hatz (Porsche’s head of R&D) will also leave the company following a supervisory board meeting Friday (tomorrow).
Yesterday saw the resignation of Dr. Martin Winterkorn as CEO of the Volkswagen Group. That announcement came with communication from the company’s supervisory board suggesting no stone would be left unturned in the investigation into this matter.
If the Bild report is correct, Hackenberg and Hatz will also be added to the list of departures. Though currently at Audi and Porsche respectively, both worked under Winterkorn at Volkswagen during the time these engines were being developed. Volkswagen of America boss Michael Horn has also been mentioned as possibly leaving and this probably isn’t the end of this story when it comes to executives leaving the company over this matter.
If the Bild report is true, such a move will be hard felt at Audi. Hackenberg’s return to Ingolstadt as head of R&D two years ago has seen a reinvigoration of the brand, with new design direction and aggressive product development particularly (and ironically) in the direction of electric mobility.
Wolfgang Hatz was also instrumental at Audi over his long and storied career. During his term at Audi, he fostered the move to FSI for petrol engines and was a strong advocate for pushing the envelope technologically. At Porsche he is also largely the man attributed with that marque’s return to the top tier of sportscar racing with their LMP1 program.
We find it hard to believe that either of these hyper experienced engineers would have signed off on such an emissions dodge, but whether or not they knew about it may not matter in the end. Given all of the good and ground-breaking technology we’ve seen both men bring to the table for Audi over the years, we’re hoping they manage to pull through this.