Audi Quattro Boss Removed From Position Over Failure to Get R8 E-Tron Into Production

FEB 5 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 15

For a Very Short Time, the Audi R8 E-tron Held the Fastest Lap Title For EVs at the Nurburgring

For a Very Short Time, the Audi R8 E-tron Held the Fastest Lap Title For EVs at the Nurburgring

Pack your bags.  You’re heading to China.

Audi R8 E-tron Now Production-Bound?  We'd Say Yes

Audi R8 E-tron Now Production-Bound? We’d Say Yes

That’s reportedly what Audi has told Franciscus van Meel, head of Audi’s performance Quattro division.

Van Meel was ousted, says Autocar, for reasons linked to the R8.

Van Meel was removed from Audi’s Quattro division and reassigned to “head up the company’s new research and development centre in Beijing,” reports Autocar.

But the story gets even more interesting.

You see, van Meel was tasked with developing the next-generation R8.  It was supposed to launch in late 2014.  It’s been delayed until sometime in 2015 now.  So, van Meel’s inability to get the R8 out is part of the reason for his removal from his Quattro position, but wait…there’s more.

Audi research and development boss Ulrich Hackenberg has suggested that van Meel’s reappointment is further linked to his inability to get the R8 e-tron into production.  The R8 e-tron was on and then off for years now.

When Hackenberg made the decision to moved the R8 e-tron back into development and to ready it for production, van Meel was kicked to the curb, so to say.

Van Meel headed Audi’s Quattro division since May of 2012.

Autocar reports:

“60-year-old Audi engineering stalwart Heinz Peter Hollerweger, who is currently responsible for vehicle development at Audi’s Ingolstadt engineering headquarters in Germany.”

Source: Autocar

Categories: Audi

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15 Comments on "Audi Quattro Boss Removed From Position Over Failure to Get R8 E-Tron Into Production"

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Wow, So maybe Audi is finally getting serious about joining the BEV world. Perhaps we can begin to believe some of the other recent rumors (oops I meant releases) they have shown us.

It seems a funny way to demote someone to me.

To move someone from a relatively small and obscure department, and put them in in your most dynamic market with the most car production in the world.

They are right about the move, wrong about the reason, IMO.

Heading the Quattro division would be like heading the M division at BMW. It’s pretty much the highest honor you could have within the company. Any move from there, even if it pays more, is a demotion.

You surely don’t stick your duds in China however, I would have thought.

Why are they wrong about the reason? Even if the R8 had range issues, at least he could have gotten it released to the public. At some point, you need to release the car, even if it is not “perfect”.

The R8, from what I could tell, was production-ready. Sure its range left something to be desired compared to the Model S, but at least it would have shown the world that Audi was serious about EVs. Now, we take everything they say in relation to EVs with a VERY large grain of salt.

His “transfer” was justified in my eyes.

I’m not keen on executives who change their mind every five minutes, and don’t disagree that he screwed up.

As I posted elsewhere, I think Nissan are about to eat VW’s electric lunch big time by releasing higher energy batteries, so maybe he is being punished for not pushing through a response in time.

It using a posting to China as somewhere to send execs who mess up that is weird, as it is the world’s biggest car market and vitally important to VW as well as every other car maker on the planet.

Send a bodger to Devil’s Island or something, sure, but China?

Maybe that is itself another mess-up from VW.
If so it is an egregious one.

Audi Panic Mode [on].

The success of Model S means managers can no longer claim EVs aren’t ready for prime time. That puts them on the chopping board …

Exactly. Tesla has shown the establishment car manufacturers that a high quality BEV is not only possible but also highly desired. No excuses anymore. None.

Agreed. Reading how acura is deploying 4-wheel electric rear drive assist, how Porsche arranged the 918’s driveline, and the potential for integrated 4wd systems, it really does begin to look like a failure on the part of “quatro”.

Moving folks around in a company to solve performance issues is always a favorite of big companies…way easier than firing them (i.e. just make them someone else’s problem). It is somewhat embarrassing how long VAG is taking to get their EVs and PHEVs to market. Heck, the Volt and Leaf will be nearly in their second generation before the VW GTE and A3 E-Tron arrive on U.S. shores. Tesla too is starting to become a household name. In Europe only BMW (and maybe Volvo surprisingly) seems to have taken EVs head on. BMW’s play is certainly the boldest/riskiest with the i3. It will be interesting to see it all play out

One of the plenty old EV-naysayers (or maybe delayers) in a big company got booted, many more to follow.

no one at Audi becomes an expatriate to China as a demotion, China is The reason for Audi’s profits. Not Europe, Not USA.

Audi, The car for today’s comrades. seriously, thats not a joke.

Trouble in paradise? it couldn’t happen to nicer people 🙂

LOL