Volkswagen’s been looking for a patsy to blame the whole Dieselgate fiasco on for a while, and they’ve found quite a few. First the CEO (which, probably right call, he’s the damn CEO), and then a couple of engineers. But now VW’s found a new one: Audi’s head of research and development, Ulrich Hackenberg.

Hackenberg, in addition to having a name so precisely German it sounds positively fake, technically wasn’t “fired,” he just left the company. But it turns out he’s been on the outs for a while since the whole diesel dilemma first started, as Reuters (via Automotive News) notes:

More than two months after he was suspended by VW’s supervisory board, Hackenberg, head of r&d at Audi, has left the company and will be replaced by Stefan Knirsch, head of engine development, Audi said.

Meanwhile, Audi named Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller as the new chairman of its supervisory board.

Hackenberg was at Audi for 30 years, as his biography that’s still on Audi’s website notes, and he wasn’t just responsible for technical development at Audi but for the technical development of all brands under the Volkswagen Group. This meant that if something was engineered at VW, like, say, a diesel engine with cheaty software, it was engineered on his watch.

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Which is kind of sad, as he was also responsible for cars like the Audi TT, A8, R8 and a whole bunch of other cars we rather like. But I suppose if you’re the one ultimately responsible for a company breaking laws, after the CEO, them’s the breaks.

Photo credit: AP


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