According to Car and Driver, citing a report in Germany's Der Spiegel magazine, Audi has fired Wolfgang Dürheimer, the brand's head of research and development.

Dürheimer had originally signed on as Audi's R&D boss in September 2012. Prior to that, he had served as the head for both Bentley and Bugatti, and was formerly the development chief at Porsche (where he is credited with helping get the original Cayenne into production, a move that ushered a new era of profitability for the company). Dürheimer moved to Audi following a management shakeup within the Volkswagen Group in mid-2012.

During his time at Bentley, Dürheimer spearheaded the brand's efforts to launch an SUV. But at Audi, he reportedly quickly put a stop to costly projects such as the R8 E-Tron and the rotary range-extender engine for the A1 E-Tron. Furthermore, Car and Driver reports that Dürheimer shuffled the reporting structure within the brand's design department, and that VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn had apparently disagreed with him several times on the styling direction for the brand.

Also of note, Der Spiegel posits that Winterkorn strongly disapproved of Dürheimer's conservative E-mobility strategy, and that there was further tension between the two gentlemen on a personal level that could have led to this dismissal.

Dürheimer's future within the Volkswagen Group is unclear at this time, and his position at Audi will currently be filled by the Group's R&D chief, Ulrich Hackenberg.


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  • 61 Comments
      bonehead
      • 2 Years Ago
      And replaces him with a new model that looks nearly identical to the last guy.
      xcatchmyshadowx
      • 2 Years Ago
      if you mess with Winterkorn, you mess with Piech. which means byeeee!
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      cpweinberg
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'll do it for half his pay & benefits.
      GFB
      • 2 Years Ago
      This move is simply corporate meddling and a continuation of the power struggle between Audi management and the management of the Volkswagen Group. The Volkswagen Group has always had trouble controlling Audi management from the time that they bought Audi from Mercedes-Benz around 1965. Audi would be nothing today if, back then, they did not stick to their guns and continue secretly to develop their highly successful Audi 100 project when VW Group management told them to stop. Also it was Audi that introduced water-cooled FWD to VW which was then still making Beetles and other rear-engined air-cooled cars. Audi engineering is still the driver of technology within the Volkswagen Group and unlike with Volkswagen's spotty quality record, Audi has consistently gotten high marks. No company is perfect in this regard, of course. Audi's exalted status as one of Germany's 3 luxury marques, despite their allegiance to FWD, is a tribute to their laser-like focus on R&D and quality engineering.
        RGT881
        • 2 Years Ago
        @GFB
        Terrific, accurate response and yet idiots down vote you.
        LW
        • 2 Years Ago
        @GFB
        Audi is the only of these luxury sub-brands that is actually a subsidiary instead of just a marketing brand, that is why it sometimes wants to go in its own direction. Although getting this guy onboard doesn't look like it was too good an idea, given his prior 2 claim to fames were introducing SUVs to the lineup.
      muspod
      • 2 Years Ago
      R&D? Really? Did they just research what they were going to steal from VW Lambo etc..? Maybe they can lower their inflated prices now?!
        1STH
        • 2 Years Ago
        @muspod
        fortunately, minimal research is needed to know that you are clueless.
      knightrider_6
      • 2 Years Ago
      wait, are you telling me that Audi had a R&D department? I thought they just had a marketing department.
        LW
        • 2 Years Ago
        @knightrider_6
        If you had done your research, Audi is a subsidiary of the VWAG, while all other luxury mfgs that has a parent company are just a marketing brand, usually having roles in multiple 'brands', or having adjacent cubicle with other brand employees.
        flanders2520
        • 2 Years Ago
        @knightrider_6
        For you to post on an auto site...you sure don't know much about automobiles
        1STH
        • 2 Years Ago
        @knightrider_6
        wait....i didn't know idiots understood words as complicated as "marketing" and "department"...
      imag
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'll bet the fact that the Tesla is outselling the A8 isn't helping. Audi could have put out a car like that, but this guy slowed down the program. Now they have to play catchup.
        Street King
        • 2 Years Ago
        @imag
        Irrelevant. Something like 85% of EV buyers don't replace their EV with another one, they go back to gas or hybrid vehicles. Don't let the starving investors run on the Tesla stock fool you - that company, and car - are far from safe.
          Tweaker
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Street King
          Source for that 85% please. I won't hold my breath.
          Pookie64
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Street King
          You mean profitable? Or are you really saying the car is unsafe? As in it will catch fire like a Ferrari? :)
          j
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Street King
          You can tell that 85% of buyers won't replace with another EV after they have only been sold since 2011? Tesla Model S first customer sales in July 2012. You sir are the epitome of genius. And you have one terrific crystal ball!
          RGT881
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Street King
          Tesla fanboys (more obnoxious than Apple fanboys...hipsters) fail to understand than EVs are just a fad, which generate a lot of publicity, but then fade out. This happened with every single EV product and same fate will meet the Model S. As for the Tesla stock...it was a mere squeeze that pushed the stock up. I am not sure about the whole storey of the Durheimer departure, but it sounds like he wanted to wait on E-Tron technology because it's certainly not ready for prime time yet...and remember car market doesn't just consist of United States and Western Europe.
          RGT881
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Street King
          Financial Times, Barron's, WSJ, Zerohedge, Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, Market Watch. What are yours? Huffington Post, Rachel Maddow, MSNBC, CNN?
          delsolo1
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Street King
          Is your source Fox News?
          purrpullberra
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Street King
          WTF is a starving investor Einstein?
      The Wasp
      • 2 Years Ago
      Maybe they just realized they don't actually need an R&D department -- let the VW, Porsche, Lambo, and Bentley folks do the work and mix it all together to make Audis (heavy on the VW, not so much from the others).
        LW
        • 2 Years Ago
        @The Wasp
        Are you for real? Audi's sport division practically redesigned eveyrthing that Lamboghini has to offer, from the chassis to engine. If Audi didn't buy Lambo, you would still be seeing circa 1970's v12 and cro-mo tubed chassis. And Audi practically designed any worthy engine in the VW line. They took the garbage 2.0 and turned it into the stellar 2.0T which VW puts it into every one of their cars...and then to the super-stellar 2.0T that VW snatched away for their Golf R, took another garbage 2.5 and turned it to a uber performer 2.5T. Bently got nothing except parts from VW/Audi.
        LW
        • 2 Years Ago
        @The Wasp
        Let see, Audi took VW's 2.0 junk and turned it the their award winning 2.0T, which VW stole back and puts it in all their cars. Then Audi redesigned it to for their TT-S and S3, which VW steals again for their Golf R since VW couldn't crank any more juice out of their VR6. Then Audi gets VW's 2.5 junk and turns it into the uber performance 2.5T, and I am sure VW is salivating in putting into their car. As for Lambo, Audi's sport division pretty much designed all their engines and chassis from scratch. Lambo was doing cro-mo tubed chassis, you think they suddenly got the capability to do aluminum space frame and cfrp chassis? Something Audi already have been doing on their production and race chassis? Forget Bently, they are just parts bin cars with hands finished interiors/exteriors.
          purrpullberra
          • 2 Years Ago
          @LW
          Didn't Lambo get the cfrp tech from a separate source? I know they have been working with Calloway and the University of Washington and together they built a production facility here in WA state. If they got their first bit of cfrp help from Audi I missed that (but I wouldn't be surprised). But I agree that Audi has been very good to VW more than VW being good for Audi all things considered. Since you mention it wasn't all of that engine work before this Wolfie got there? I guess this guy was too conservative.
          bK
          • 2 Years Ago
          @LW
          Well said sir...
          LW
          • 2 Years Ago
          @LW
          @purrpullberra: lambo worked with calloway on forged composite, which is bits of carbon fiber strands squeezed with epoxy into a mold, creating ultra cheap CFRP. Work with UW is for mass production, since building a few R15's is not the same as making hundreds. This Wolfie guy has been here too short to make a difference, maybe cancel projects and approve a new face going forward.
      over9000
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good riddance, VW electronics are the worst.
      knightrider_6
      • 2 Years Ago
      Is it because their cars keep catching fire?
      550PlusX5
      • 2 Years Ago
      ....Please let this mean that the UR-Quattro successor will be greenlighted....
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