Audi late on Thursday named Gernot Döllner as its new CEO.
The Porsche veteran will begin the role on Sept. 1, replacing Markus Duesmann, a former BMW executive who has held the top role at Audi since early 2020.
Döllner has a mechanical engineering background and started his career at Volkswagen in 1993. He moved to Porsche in 1998 where he was in charge of vehicle concepts and packaging until 2010. He later served as project manager for the 918 Spyder hypercar, and for the Panamera series until 2021, when he moved to the Volkswagen Group to head product and group strategy.
Volkswagen Group CEO Oliver Blume, who also serves as Porsche's CEO, was critical of Audi's performance during an investor presentation held this week. He cited software issues that have delayed the launch of key electric vehicles, such as the Q6 E-Tron due later this year, as well as declining sales in the key market of China, where Audi's numbers are down 16% in the first quarter of 2023 versus the same period a year ago.
2023 Audi Q4 E-Tron
Audi's EVs are performing particularly poorly in China. The automaker managed just over 3,000 EV sales in the country in the first quarter of the year. In comparison, Tesla is on track to hit 153,000 sales in China in the current quarter.
Audi hasn't launched a new EV globally since the arrival of the Q4 E-Tron in 2021.
In a statement, Audi Chairman Manfred Döss said Döllner is now the right person to strengthen the company’s product strategy and position in key markets.
Döss also thanked Duesmann for the work he has done, including making some key strategic decisions, such as a planned switch to a full-electric lineup after 2026.