VW Engineer Hatz Leaves After Suspension in Emissions Scandalby
Motor developer decided to leave due to prolonged absence
Investigations have found `no evidence' against Hatz so far
Volkswagen AG engineer Wolfgang Hatz, who was suspended in September as part of an investigation into the roots of the emissions-cheating scandal, has left the carmaker at his own request.
Hatz, who ran Volkswagen’s motor development from 2007 to 2011, was most recently head of development for the Porsche brand. Inquiries have found “no evidence” so far that the 57-year-old was involved in the manipulations of diesel engines, Porsche said in a statement on Tuesday. Hatz requested to be released from his contract due to the ongoing internal investigations and his prolonged absence, according to the statement.
Hatz and former VW development chief Ulrich Hackenberg were among the first executives suspended as Volkswagen scrambled to respond to the crisis. Neither have been formally implicated. The investigation into how the German carmaker created and covered up software designed to cheat on official emissions tests is still ongoing and won’t be finalized until the fourth quarter.
In the release, Hatz was credited with playing a key role in the development of Porsche’s sold-out 918 Spyder hybrid supercar as well as the electric-powered Mission E concept car, which will go into production at the end of the decade. Porsche’s victory last year at the Le Mans endurance car race was “a culmination of his outstanding work,” the sports-car maker’s chairman Wolfgang Porsche said in the statement.
Porsche appointed Michael Steiner, 51, to succeed Hatz with immediate effect. The 14-year veteran of the Stuttgart-based manufacturer’s development center has served as vice president for vehicle engineering and quality management since 2011. Steiner previously worked at Daimler AG.
Porsche’s exposure to parent VW’s emissions scandal is relatively small, with some 13,000 Cayenne SUVs affected out of a total of 11 million vehicles worldwide.
“I look back fondly on my time at Porsche,” Hatz said in the statement.