(Adds detail on Italdesign and models)
BERLIN Dec 5 Audi's chief designer will quit at
the end of the year, the latest in a string of high-level
departures from a brand wrestling with BMW for
dominance of the luxury car market, Germany's Auto Bild magazine
Wolfgang Egger, who has led vehicle design at Volkswagen's
Audi and Lamborghini brands since 2007, will move to
a leading position at VW-owned Italdesign Giugiaro, the weekly
magazine said in an excerpt ahead of publication on Friday.
Acquired by VW in 2010, Italdesign Giugiaro has been
designing and engineering models at facilities near Turin for
major carmakers including VW, Fiat and BMW since 1971. VW models
mapped out by the company include the first-generation Golf
hatchback and the Scirocco coupe.
Cars conceived by Egger that won international awards last
year include Audi's A6 sedan for its expressive design language
and the A3 compact for interior and exterior designs.
Egger will be replaced by Marc Lichte, a senior designer at
VW's core passenger-car brand who has helped shape the latest
version of the Golf, VW's best-selling model, Auto Bild said.
Prior to joining Audi, Egger held positions at Fiat's
Alfa Romeo and Lancia brands.
Ingolstadt-based Audi declined to comment. Parent company VW
did not return calls seeking comment.
Egger's departure, if confirmed, would come six months after
development chief Wolfgang Duerheimer was sacked. An Audi
management shake-up in 2012 had already forced out three other
With some analysts saying that Audi's design had grown stale
in recent years, Egger launched a new strategy in November 2012
to emphasize technology features in auto design with a goal of
underlining differences between the brand's passenger cars,
performance models and sport-utility vehicles.
Audi continues to do well in growing sales volumes. Sales in
October rose 6.7 percent from a year earlier to 131,950 luxury
cars and SUVs, giving a 10-month increase of 7.5 percent to 1.31
million. That compares with luxury-sales leader BMW's 1.35
However, some fear Audi's success risks stalling without a
new technology drive.
To keep up momentum, Audi plans to create a more distinctive
image for high-end models and sportier vehicles, a source with
direct knowledge of the matter has told Reuters.
(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer and Mark