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Porsche Names Hatz Development Chief; Duerheimer to Run Bentley

Porsche AG, the maker of the 911 sports car, appointed Volkswagen AG’s engines head Wolfgang Hatz to take over as development chief as the luxury manufacturer prepares to add models.

Hatz will succeed Wolfgang Duerheimer, who will replace Franz-Josef Paefgen as chief executive officer of VW’s ultra-luxury unit Bentley Motors Ltd., Wolfsburg, Germany-based VW said in an e-mailed statement today. Paefgen, 64, will retire, VW said.

Hatz will continue in his position at Wolfsburg, Germany-based VW when he replaces Duerheimer on Feb. 1. The executive will take charge of research and development as Porsche expands its lineup from 38 models across four vehicle lines in a bid to almost double annual sales to 150,000 vehicles by 2014.

Volkswagen, seeking to overtake Toyota Motor Corp. by deliveries and profitability no later than 2018, is merging with Porsche as both carmakers develop a model strategy that includes sharing platforms. A fifth model line will probably be a smaller version of the Cayenne SUV, Porsche’s best-selling model, Duerheimer said Sept. 30.

Porsche will hold a shareholder meeting in Stuttgart tomorrow to get approval for a capital increase of 5 billion euros ($6.9 billion) to help reduce debts.

Porsche will spend about 150 million euros to expand its development center in Weissach near Stuttgart, the company said Nov. 23. Porsche is currently hiring more than 100 engineers at the facility.

Duerheimer will, like Paefgen, also run Molsheim, France- based Bugatti, the third ultra-luxury brand in VW’s stable besides Bentley and Automobili Lamborghini SpA.

Duerheimer will need to turn around Bentley as customers have fled the Crewe, England-based carmaker’s aging models such as the Continental, which starts in the U.S. at $177,600. Bentley’s sales plunged 50 percent to 4,000 vehicles last year.

Bentley posted a nine-month operating loss of 145 million euros, almost unchanged from the 148 million-euro deficit a year earlier. The only other VW division to report a loss in the first three quarters was the Spanish Seat brand.

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