Keeping things in the (VW) family.
Meet Stephan Winkelmann. You’ve likely heard of him before. He’s currently the CEO of Audi Sport and, prior to that, CEO of Lamborghini. And now, not even a year and a half after taking on the Audi Sport gig, he’s leaving to become head of Bugatti, according to Autocar. Current Bugatti boss, Wolfgang Durheimer, will not be leaving the VW Group, of which Audi, Bugatti, and Lamborghini are all a part of. Durheimer has been handling two CEO positions for some time, at Bugatti as well as Bentley.
Autocar’s sources claim he’ll remain at his Bentley post. Winkelmann’s replacement at Audi Sport is Michael-Julius Renz, currently president of Audi’s sales division in China. This in-house reshuffle is not entirely unusual, but the fact that Winkelmann only just took on the Audi Sport role only to leave it less than two years later kind of is. What could this mean? Turns out Durheimer had expressed interest in leaving Bentley at the end of his current contract in mid-2019. However, top VW Group officials have convinced him to stay on at least until the launch of the Continental GTC cabrio. The Continental GT coupe has just been revealed. The choice of Winkelmann to lead Bugatti is both bold and smart.
He ran Lamborghini from 2005 until last year, so he obviously knows how to manage supercar and hypercar development. And speaking of development, why does Bugatti need him after all, especially after it’s gone on record stating there will be no Chiron derivatives? Well, because there will be in all likelihood. A Chiron Grand Sport and Super Sport are unbelievably tempting, for profit and glory alike. An official announcement from VW Group regarding this management re-shuffle is expected soon.