Audi engine development chief Stefan Knirsch has announced plans to quit the Ingolstadt-based automaker. He used to be a Porsche executive before being appointed as the man in charge of Audi’s powertrain development towards the end of 2013. Audi says he has decided to leave the company at his own request and at the moment there aren’t any details about the person who will replace him.
This decision to leave Audi comes at a time when the Volkswagen-owned luxury marque is embracing hybrid and electric vehicles in its attempt to maintain a lead in their battle with Mercedes-Benz which is getting closer and closer. In the first five months of the year, Audi delivered 745,000 units (up by 4.3%) while Mercedes-Benz sold 729,000 cars (up by 14%) so the battle between the two prestige automakers is very close.
Aside from focusing on hybrids and electric vehicles, Audi is also currently developing autonomous driving technologies which will make their debut on a production car in 2017 when the next generation A8 flagship model will hit the market.
As for Stefan Knirsch, he hasn’t said a word about his next move but most likely he will be heading to a different automaker outside the Volkswagen Group.