Volkswagen is poised to set up a separate luxury division – similar to its rival Ford’s Premier Automotive Group – to be headed by former BMW chief executive Bernd Pischetsrieder.
Under the terms of the restructure, Pischetsrieder will manage a division made up of Audi, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Rolls Royce and Bentley.
According to industry insiders, VW wants to separate its luxury brands to create a cohesive structure away from its mass market brands (Volkswagen, Skoda and Seat), and to concentrate on their future growth. The heads of each of the luxury car marques will report to Pischetsrieder.
Pischetsrieder formally joined VW at the start of this month, after being sacked from BMW for his role in the company’s disastrous takeover of Rover. He sits on VW’s board as head of quality control and also has responsibility for the Seat brand.
The restructure will see Pischetsrieder pitted against Wolfgang Reitzle, who runs Ford’s Premier Automotive Division, and was ousted from his position on the BMW board over Rover.
Professor Garel Rhys, based at Cardiff University’s Centre for Automotive Research, says: “VW has most of the pieces of the jigsaw, so I can see why they would create something like this. It doesn’t have the same number of marques as Ford, but there is logic to it for future growth.”
A spokesman for VW in Germany refused to comment.