Wolfgang Duerheimer gets to head Bentley and Bugatti again

Article by Christian A., on April 17, 2014

Wolfgang Duerheimer will again become boss of Volkswagen’s Bentley and Bugatti brands. His first stint started in February 2011 and ended 19 months after. In his second turn, Duerheimer will be replacing Wolfgang Schreiber as chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors and president of Bugatti Automobiles effective June 1.

VW said in a statement that Schreiber is moving to another management position within the VW Group. Duerheimer, also a former top executive at Porsche, exited Audi in 2013 after he was slammed by senior managers at VW group who expressed concerns that the luxury brand was losing momentum.

Duerheimer started his career at BMW in 1986, then move to Porsche where he eventually became chief of research and development, playing a vital role in in the rollout of the Porsche Cayenne SUV and Panamera sedan.

In 2012, Duerheimer became head of technical development at Audi as part of a management reshuffle by VW targeted at boosting the luxury brand as it aims to surpass BMW and Mercedes-Benz in global luxury car sales. He only stayed nine months in the job.

A local media report suggested that he was drove out after he pushed for cost savings and triggering friction among the brand’s development team. After his stint at Audi, Duerheimer has been chief of VW group’s motorsports unit.

His reappointment to Bentley and Bugatti comes as the former aims to diversify its product line by rolling out an SUV in 2016 and introducing plug-in hybrid technology.

Bentley targets to sell 15,000 vehicles annually around the world by 2018 after selling a record 10,120 in 2013. While Bentley and Bugatti only account for less than 0.2 percent of VW’s 9.73 million global vehicle sales in 2013, the two brands help provide the group with an aura of technical prowess.

They are also responsible for conducting vital research tasks like on lightweight construction. “I would like to thank Wolfgang Schreiber for his successful work with Bentley and Bugatti and the consistent further development of the two brands,” said Dr Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG. [source: Bentley]

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