The Porsche-ization of luxury car maker Bentley moved another step forward today as Rolf Frech was named as its engineering chief.
Frech, who has been Porsche’s director of complete vehicle engineering group for the past decade, replaces Ulrich Eichhorn, who is set to become head of the VDA, the German auto industry association.
Eichhorn, 50, joined Bentley as engineering chief in 2003 from Volkswagen, where he had been in charge of research and development. He joined VW in 2000 from Ford Motor Co. Volkswagen Group bought Bentley in 1998.
Frech, 53, starts his new job in November. He joins Bentley chairman Wolfgang Duerheimer as a Porsche alumnus. Duerheimer took the top job at Bentley in February after working for a decade at Porsche’s r&d chief.
Meanwhile, at Porsche, Michael Steiner, 47, fills Frech's job. Steiner has been head of the Panamera model line.
In a related move, former Bentley CEO Franz-Josef Paefgen will oversee the global coordination of Volkswagen Group's classic automobile activities.
Volkswagen Group's Audi, Skoda, Seat, Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini brands each have Classic departments charged with overseeing product history alive and historical experiences.
Paefgen, an authority on the historical automobile scene, will be coordinating these brand activities and also performing representative functions.
Paefgen has been a consultant at VW since he retired as Bentley CEO in January. He joined VW group in 1980 and was in charge of Bentley for eight years. Before moving to Bentley, Paefgen was head of Audi.
Dale Jewett is a reporter for AutoWeek.