The head of Audi quattro Franciscus van Meel has reportedly been replaced after less than two years on the job, despite the performance division expanding its range and generating profits during his tenure. The 46-year-old exec is said to have been moved to a new tech center in Beijing, China at the behest of Audi R&D boss Ulrich Hackenberg.

Sources have revealed to Auto Express that Hackenberg was displeased with van Meel’s progress on the second-generation R8, which is due late this year but may see its arrival pushed back until early 2015.

Another stumble for van Meel is said to be the on again/off again R8 e-tron electric car, which the last we heard will be produced thanks to advancements in battery technology.

Filling the top spot at Audi quattro is now said to be engineering stalwart Heinz Hollweger. The 60-year-old exec has been in charge of vehicle development for Audi since 2005.

If the claims are accurate, it will be the second senior exec change at Audi in as many months. In December it was confirmed that Marc Lichte would take over from Wolfgang Egger as head of Audi design.

Stay tuned for an update.


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