Durheimer and the Bentley SUV

Former Bentley CEO and head of Audi R&D leaving VW Group

Wolfgang Duerheimer has had a checkered role at the VW Group for years, moving from office to office repeatedly. Now, reports say that the former Bentley CEO is leaving for good.

Wolfgang Durheimer is best known for his brief, but pivotal role at Bentley, which is owned by the Volkswagen Group. During his few short months at the British premium automaker, Durheimer was instrumental in making the Bentley SUV a design priority for the company, which has since promised a 2015 release. By all accounts, Durheimer spearheaded the effort to get the go-ahead on the new model.

Most recently, Durheimer was head of research and development at Audi, where he took control a year ago - September, 2012. After just nine months, though, he was replaced in June of this year by Ulrich Hackenberg. Rumors say that resentment over Durheimer's former long-time career at Porsche and his shutting down of several "baby" projects at Audi such as the A1 e-tron's rotary engine range extender, the R8 e-tron project, and others were reasons for his ouster.

For months now, Durheimer has been in limbo at VW, working here and there on projects in an advisory or support role, but having no formal title or position in the company. That appears to have ended now with reports from Der Speigel and others that the former Bentley CEO is now being cut loose from VW entirely.

So far, no official announcement from the company or Mr. Durheimer have been made.

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