So what happened? Apparently VW CEO Martin Winterkorn did not take kindly to Durheimer. There was some animosity between them regarding strategies for the future with Durheimer trying to cut costs and playing it conservative with e-mobility platforms. The R8 E-Tron no doubt was likely a major source of this animosity as the expensive project was cut by Durheimer. Was this seen as an embarrassment to the VW Group? Durheimer also wanted more platform sharing between Audi and the other brands to cust costs. On paper that seems like a good idea.
However, in practice, with Durheimer recently coming over from heading development at Porsche they felt as if an outsider was dictating rules to Audi and punishing them for past mistakes. Durheimer is not a new face at the VW Group previously having served as head of Bentley and Bugatti.
There also was concern from the VW CEO Winterkorn on Audi's styling direction. The next Q7 is apparently over the top in its styling and this has caused a division in the company. This is an issue especially considering just two years ago Audi's design director expressed concern that the designs were starting to blend together. Does Audi go bold or play it safe? What direction to go on caused problems among executives.
What will happen to Durheimer now? Well, VW's R&D chief Ulrich Hackenberg will move to Audi to fill his spot. Who will fill in for Hackenberg is uncertain but what is certain is that a major internal shakeup is occuring at the VW Group.