Following the infamous diesel scandal that put a serious hurting on the entire Volkswagen Group, two of the most important executives at Audi have now gone. Both Ulrich Hackenberg and Stefan Knirsch were forced to step down due to their involvement in the diesel emissions scandal, now leaving a big void at Audi. So the Ingolstadt-based brand has now replaced them with executives from Volvo, with the most recent one being Peter Mertens, part of Volvo’s R&D team.
According to an Audi spokesperson, “Peter Mertens had the best combination of qualities and experience,”. Mertens has worked for several different car companies on different continents. He’s served as manager and executive at companies such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Jaguar/Land Rover and even General Motors. So he’s very experienced and very intelligent.
He even has the approval of Audi CEO, Rupert Stadler, saying Mertens has “exceptionally broad technical expertise” It’s Mertens international expertise that drew Stadler to him.“These are ideal qualifications for him to make further progress with the technical development division at Audi,”
Mertens was with Volvo since 2011 and helped guide the Swedish to a major turnaround. Volvo flat-out couldn’t compete with the major Germans before Mertens’ arrival, but now is a major player in the segment. He was even named a Automotive News Europe Eurostar.
Audi needs some help turning its brand image around at the moment. Despite the brand putting out genuinely brilliant cars, such as the new B9 Audi A4 and second-generation Audi Q7, the Four Rings are looking a bit tarnished at the moment due to the diesel scandal of last year. With each new bit of information that surfaces about Audi’s emissions-cheating, the brand becomes less and less loved. So getting rid of the executives involved in such a scandal was a good move by Audi and hiring a man who’s as qualified and capable as Mertens should help turn the four-ringed brand around.