By on September 24, 2015

1426757991533According to Germany’s Bild tabloid, the next Volkswagen personnel to be shown the door could be three people integral to powertrain development during the time when vehicles were fitted with “defeat devices”.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi Board Member for Technical Development; Wolfgang Hatz, Porsche Board of Management; and Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neußer, Head of Powertrain Development at the Volkswagen Group are rumored to be the next executives and managers to be fired, though a final decision won’t be made until Friday.

Hackenberg joined Audi in 1985 after working for the Automotive Institute for seven years. From 2002 until 2007, he was responsible for electronics in Audi vehicles, along with superstructure and electrics development. In 2007, Hackenberg was appointed Member of Volkswagen’s Brand Board for Development. He became a member of Audi’s Board Management, responsibility for Audi’s technical development as well as the technical development of all the Volkswagen Group’s brands in 2013.

wolfgang_hatzHatz joined Volkswagen in 1989 after leaving BMW where he was a powertrain engineer. At Porsche, we was part of the company’s Formula 1 engine development efforts. He left the company in 1993 and returned to Volkswagen Group in 2001 where he was responsible for Audi powertrain development. He assumed that same responsibility with Volkswagen in 2007 and was appointed to Porsche AG Board of Management in charge of Research and Development in 2011.

Dr-Heinz-Jakob-NeusserIn 2012, Hatz was replaced by Neußer as Head of Powertrain Development at the Volkswagen Group. Neußer joined Porsche in 1996, assumed responsibility for Porsche engine construction in 1998, drivetrain development in 2001, and powertrain development for Volkswagen’s passenger cars brand in 2011.


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12 Comments on “Volkswagen Powertrain, Technical Development Personnel Next To Get The Axe?...”

  • avatar

    contrast this with GM and the 2008 GFC

    at least in germany heads start rolling even though i dont think they had anything to do with it?

    mary barra? rick wagoner? wall street? eh… too big to fail

    • 0 avatar

      One important difference with the VW scandal is there was an *intent* to cheat right at the start.

      The GM and Toyota scandals were both mistakes that resulted in safety defects, which both companies refused to acknowledge the seriousness of, and even tried to cover up at first. So while I think the heads involved in the coverups at GM and Toyota should roll, I don’t think there’s any need for Mary Barra or Akio Toyoda to step down.

    • 0 avatar

      If GM had tanked 20% in a day over what could easily become an even bigger scandal (and not just because the market took a dive on a particular day), Wagoner probably would have been gone too.

      GM in the 2000s was very talented at hiding just how badly they were actually doing, which is probably a big reason for the name of this site. It wasn’t until the entire market was going down the toilet that investors realized how badly GM was actually doing.

      By contrast, everyone knows exactly how badly VW is doing right now.

  • avatar

    Well, it looks like to VW’s credit, it appears that they are going to fire everybody in the chain responsible, instead of just blaming a couple engineers in a cube in Nowhereburg and calling the problem solved.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Automotive News also reports that the head of VW USA will be axed, presumably due to knowledge/direction of deceiving the EPA/CARB investigation.

  • avatar

    “From 2002 until 2007, he was responsible for electronics in Audi vehicles…”

    So in other words, he wasn’t that good ;)

  • avatar

    Hackenberg and Hatz had responsibility for electronics and engines, respectively, in the timeframe that this originally happened, so I can see them being on the firing line.

    Neusser was at Porsche at the time, though, so he wasn’t involved then. Unless he became aware of the software when he arrived, and decided not to do anything about it.

    Some reports indicate that Michael Horn (head of VWoA) is also in danger. If so, I don’t understand why, even before his arrival in the US, he was in sales roles and is unlikely to have had any involvement in this. But maybe we’ll find out otherwise on Friday.

  • avatar

    Looking back, you wonder why it took so long to catch VW in the act. That it eventually would have come out, there’s no doubt about it. Call it arrogance then that VW managers thought that they would not get caught.

  • avatar

    With heads rolling throughout the VW chain of command, how much actual work do you think is getting done around VW’s technical centers these days?

    Also with so much high level turnover, what projects are going to be delayed or destroyed? The competition probably isn’t sitting around worrying about internal politics all day long.

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