MUNICH, Germany - Volkswagen AG is close to hiring former Chrysler group COO Wolfgang Bernhard.
Bernhard's salary demands are all that is left to negotiate, according to VW sources.
If an agreement is reached, the 43-year-old would become head of the Volkswagen division in January.
Bernhard's appointment could be announced at the Paris auto show next month.
VW Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder has acted as both group CEO and head of the VW brand.
In April, Bernhard's promotion to head the Mercedes-Benz car group was derailed by the DaimlerChrysler AG supervisory board, just days before he was to take the job.
He earned a reputation as a tough cost cutter at Chrysler. Sources said Bernhard was blocked from heading Mercedes because his abrasive style upset some colleagues.
General Motors officials in Detroit deny reports that Bernhard also is weighing a GM offer. The reports followed the resignation this month of Mark Hogan, GM's group vice president of advanced vehicle development. Hogan left to join Magna International Inc.
A GM insider last week said he expects Bernhard to join Volkswagen.
Franz W. Rother is Editor and Chief of Automobilwoche, a sister publication to Automotive News.