FRANKFURT, June 20 Volkswagen's
premium unit Audi has sacked its head of research and
development after less than a year, German weekly Spiegel
reported on Thursday.
Wolfgang Duerheimer, who previously served as R&D chief for
Porsche and Chief Executive of Bentley, will be replaced by VW
brand research chief Ulrich Hackenberg, according to the
Hackenberg, who served at Audi before assuming his current
post in February 2007, is a close confidante of Volkswagen CEO
Spiegel reported that top managers had criticised Audi for
not being innovative enough compared to larger rival BMW
While Audi stopped the planned electric versions of the R8
super-sports car and the diminutive A1 hatchback, BMW is
preparing to launch later this year its i3 megacity electric car
that sports a lightweight carbon-fibre skeleton.
Duerheimer took over as Audi R&D chief last September after
his predecessor, Michael Dick, was replaced in a major
group-wide management reshuffle for similar reasons.
Neither Volkswagen nor Audi could be reached for a comment.
(Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner, additional reporting by Jan
Schwartz; Editing by Marilyn Gerlach and Elaine Hardcastle)