VW Group top engineer Hackenberg resigns
Volkswagen executive Ulrich Hackenberg has reportedly resigned from his positions as the group’s top engineer and Audi board member.
Hackenberg and two fellow engineering executives had been suspended as VW opened its internal investigation into the diesel emissions scandal. The company early last month claimed to have uncovered no evidence directly linking him to the fiasco.
It is unclear if the inquiry has since connected any executives to the decisions that allowed millions of vehicles to ship with software that circumvents emissions tests in the US and abroad. A New York Times report suggests the resignation may have been driven by pressure from the company’s labor leaders, which have voting power on its supervisory board.
At least nine employees are said to have been suspended amid the ongoing controversy, however Hackenberg and former VW chief Martin Winterkorn are the only two to have formally resigned.
VW has claimed the emissions ‘defeat’ device was implemented by lower-level engineers. Critics speculate that some managers must have been aware of the move, though VW has not yet disclosed full details of its ongoing inquiry. The company has publicly called for patience as it works to bring affected vehicles into compliance; completing the investigation and holding workers responsible is a second priority.
Audi has praised Hackenberg for his impact on technical development, crediting the 30-year veteran with spearheading the company’s latest modular platform architecture.
“The highly flexible modular system resulted in flexible modular production. Both systems helped us to produce very efficiently and with high quality,” said Audi chief Rupert Stadler. “Numerous car models from Audi, Volkswagen and Bentley were significantly affected by his commitment and expertise.”