Audi Sport GmbH has a new boss. The go-faster division, based in Neckarsulm, has seen tremendous growth in the last year, under the auspices of former Lamborghini boss, the charismatic Stephan Winkelmann.
With a successful restructuring of Audi Sport completed, Winkelmann has been promoted to Bugatti’s new CEO, where his supercar experience from Lamborghini should enable a sustainable future for the hypercar brand.
Replacing Winkelmann is Michael-Julius Renz, moving into his new position from a sales role in China. Renz has been with Audi since 1994 in a variety of centralised sales roles and if anybody knows how important closing the deal is, it’s Renz.
Audi promises that its Sport division will deliver battery powered performance cars by 2020 and a host of new Q-series RS models too, the latter being part of a growth strategy prioritising markets such as America, where SUVs are boundlessly popular.
Renz’s appointment might cast doubt for Audi Sport fans, as he is primarily a sales and marketing guru, instead of the pedigreed supercar enthusiast that Winkelmann was. That said, Renz shares a similar flair for tailored suits to Winkelmann and his experience in China, where he served as Audi sales director since 2015, is crucial.
China is only going to become a more important market with time and for Audi to capitalise on its presence there with quality Sport products, will be a crucial driver for sales and ultimately, the brand’s success in countering AMG and BMW M. Renz’s experience in China has positioned him as the choice candidate to execute Audi’s vision for Sport GmbH.
In his short tenure, Winkelmann transformed Audi’s performance division from Quattro to Sport GmbH. It will now be Renz’s task to aggressively position the go-faster Audis against a vast range of AMGs, and spot the weaknesses where Audi can profit.