THE man who made the Volkswagen Golf the benchmark for small cars has resigned his position on the Volkswagen Supervisory Board.
Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, who joined Audi in 1985, was suspended from the position more than two months ago at the height of the Dieselgate emissions scandal.
He has now relinquished his roles as Audi technical chief and Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development, in a huge loss for the VW Group.
Hackenberg has overseen numerous pioneering projects – for Audi and other VW Group brands – and laid the foundation for the group’s technical leadership. His influence dates back to cars such as the 1999 Audi A2, an aluminium-bodied city car that was decades ahead of its time.
He was technical leader on the Audi 80, and also on the Audi A8 – which was the first aluminium space frame production Audi.
More recently, he developed the modular longitudinal toolkit as head of the Concept Development, Body Development, Electrics and Electronics departments.
His crowning achievement is arguably the MQB platform: a modular architecture strategy that has produced manufacturing efficiencies while underpinning some brilliant cars, among them the Mk7 VW Golf, the Audi A3 and the new Audi TT.
Hackenberg also worked to produce the company’s ‘one-litre car’, the XL1, with a claimed fuel consumption of 0.9L/100km.
He will be replaced by Dr Stefan Kirsch. Kirsch has been head of Audi powertrain since May 2013, with previous roles including head of quality at VW-owned Porsche.
VW Group CEO Matthias Mueller, who replaced Martin Winterkorn, in early October as Dieselgate began to claim scalps, praised Hackenberg’s contribution to the company.
“Above all, the modular toolkit system is inseparably connected with the name of Ulrich Hackenberg. He had that idea already in the early nineties at Audi. Today, the entire Group profits from it, Mueller said.”