Piech, who remains as a member of the supervisory board, steps down after nine years at the helm of the VW Group. He is responsible for raising the company's profile and establishing it as a serious brand with a reputation for quality. VW profits last year rose 18.6 per cent to £2.7bn. Under Piech, the Skoda and Seat marques have enjoyed a resurgence - to the extent where they are now cannibalising sales of VW's own models. It is left to Pischetsrieder to ensure the various brands raise sales without cross competition.
To this end, VW is splitting the group into two divisions: Classic includes Skoda, Volkswagen and Bentley; Sporty the Seat, Audi and Lamborghini brands. Bugatti remains in a sector of its own.
To succeed, each brand will require major repositioning. VW need to establish a clear progression for buyers from entry-level models to top-flight luxury cars.