Audi changes its development chiefs for the second time in less than 12 months as it tries to close the gap with German competitor BMW.
Wolfgang Duerheimer, who was the CEO of Bentley and Bugatti, will be sacked for 10 months after he was named Audi development chief, being replaced by VW brand research head Ulrich Hackenberg, said an anonymous source. Top managers at VW group criticized Duerheimer’s departure, saying that the due to this move the brand’s surge is losing momentum.
A senior VW group executive said that Audi plans to adopt an “advancement through technology” strategy, a trend already adopted by rivals BMW, and criticized the fact that the automaker is too dependent on China.
“Audi doesn’t uncover new market segments and too often borrows VW group technology,” said Ferdinand Dudenhoefer, head of the CAR think tank at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. “Their sales slogan doesn’t meet the requirements.”
With all the management changes, Audi still managed to surpass Mercedes and become the second-largest luxury automaker two years ago and also diminish the gap with BMW to around 11,000 vehicles so far this year.