While at Pebble Beach, Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer sat down with Inside Line to elaborate on plans for the production version of its controversial EXP 9 F concept SUV. As recently as a month ago, the blue behemoth was still being talked about as if a final decision hadn't been made, Durheimer didn't appear to show any reticence when discussing what the report cited as "the 2015 production date."
Running a high-end automobile manufacturer like Bentley or Bugatti has got to be a dream job for most any business executive. And Wolfgang Dürheimer gets to run them both – but not for much longer, according to the latest reports coming in from trade publication Automotive News Europe.
After two consecutive years posting losses in its balance book, Bentley is back in the black as the figures came in for the close of 2011. But don't think for one minute that the ultra-luxe British marque is about to stop there. No, Bentley's new CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer (pictured above, right) has big plans for the company, and having headed product development at Porsche for years, that can only mean one thing: more new vehicles. More types of vehicles, more bodystyles and more derivatives.
You don't port over an executive from one company to another without expecting him (or her) to apply the same sort of successful formulas that brought success for his former employer to the new one. And that's certainly the case with automotive executives. Alan Mulally, for example, was tipped to do for Ford what he had done at Boeing – namely, to put the American company at the forefront of the industry – and by many accounts, he has succeeded. The same could be said for Wolfgang D&
For as long as anyone can remember, Bugatti has been a one-model marque. For the past seven years, that model has been the Veyron. Before that, it was the EB110. In the 1950s, it was the Type 101. In fact, you'd have to go back to the late 30s to find more than one line of vehicles coming out of Molsheim, when the Type 57, Type 46 and Type 55 all shared the same facility. But that could come about again if Wolfgang Dürheimer gets his way.
The game of game of CEO musical chairs at Volkswagen is still underway. Wolfgang Dürheimer (at right), formerly executive vice president of Porsche, is now the chairman and CEO of Bentley. Dr. Franz-Josef Paefgen (above), the company's current CEO, will retire in February after eight years of leading the ultra-lux brand. Though he's hit the traditional German retirement age of 65, the well-regarded exec is slated to stay on the payroll as a consultant for VW and an adviser for Bentley.