As I’ve suggested elsewhere, expect the changes at VAG to have two components:
- Limiting the damage to VW the company as much as possible, obviously. In the form of ceremonial lopping off of heads to calm the baying hounds at the door. It will also include rationalising the balance sheet as much as possible. This latter needs doing, the VAG balance sheet has become bloated, partly because of the dominance of the IG Metall union in everything the board does (through it’s “unique” governance structure) but also because of lax discipline.
- Remaking VW the brand. This will involve bringing in new people and new blood.
One of the first moves in the latter, according to Autocar:
Winkelmann, 51, has guided Lamborghini through the past decade under VW Group ownership – although he has previous experience with Fiat in Austria, Switzerland and Germany.
Reports in the Italian media suggest that Stefano Domenicali – the man who led Ferrari’s Formula One team between 2007 and 2014 – is being lined up to replace Winkelmann at the helm of Lamborghini. Domenicali is already employed by the VW Group; he joined Audi in October 2014, sparking speculation that the German brand was lining up an F1 entry.
Quattro GmbH would be a return to relatively mainstream products for Winkelmann, even though the Neckarsulm-based company produces relatively high-end, niche versions of Audi models
This is pretty good news for Audi fans. I don’t personally like Lambo’s but they have become drive-able supercars under Audi tutelage. And Quattro GmbH makes proper fast cars: all the RS and S models, and the divine (much better than the Lambo) R8. The RS and S models (like the Audi’s they are based one) were becoming a bit staid. Maybe Stephan will shake things up there.
As for VAG going back into F1…that would be a good thing but I hope it won’t be led by Stefano! Just look what he did at Ferrari!!