The 2015 Motor Trend Power List enumerates the top 50 “leaders, thinkers, and agitators” that shape the global auto industry. Eight executives from the Volkswagen Auto Group made the list, including the #1 position. Here they are, in descending order:
1. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of The Volkswagen Auto Group (VAG) Board Of Management
VW’s goal to hit 10 million vehicles by 2018 came early thanks to Winterkorn’s leadership. However, according to MT, “rising emissions standards, waning Chinese sales, and an underperforming U.S. market” are among the current challenges faced by the top executive of the world’s largest automaker. But since he Winterkorn has the talent for finding the right talent, VW should reap the rewards of his future decisions.
5. Ulrich Hackenberg, Volkswagen Board Member In Charge Of Research & Development
The immense breadth of the VAG lineup is impressive enough. What is equally as impressive is the masterfully-tasteful and individual way with which the group’s vehicles are designed, engineered, and crafted. That alone should get Hackenberg to the top ten on MT’s list. , which the group is all too happy to explore and push the boundaries. As of this writing, this includes electric turbos, autonomous driving, and hydrogen fuel cells, which Hackenberg is ultimately responsible for. And though no one really knows what VW’s future will truly look like, Hackenberg’s understanding of alternative forms of propulsion should help the automaker lead the future.
10. Ferdinand Piëch, Chairman Of Volkswagen Group Supervisory Board
Last year, Piëch brought Ducati into the world of VAG. The year before, he was rumored to be contemplating a merger with Fiat that included Chrysler, Jeep, and Ram. MT says that even though “Piëch ..[has] moved more to the background at VW, do not underestimate his influence behind the scenes.”
18. Herbert Diess, Volkswagen Passenger Cars Brand Chairman
The former head at BMW is thought to be Winterkorn’s heir apparent, but it all depends on how he proceeds with the VW brand.
26. Michael Mauer, Porsche Chief Designer
Why is Porsche’s designer on this list? After all, the design of the 911 has had very little change except for evolutionary enhancements over the years. But with a new Macan SUV and the 911 scheduled for a refresh in less than a year − its first one since 2012 − no one can say Porsche doesn’t keep things fresh.
41. Matthias Müller, Porsche CEO
Thanks to Porsches Macan and Cayenne performance crossovers as well as the Panamera Sedan , the company’s sales growth “continues to outpace the auto industry.” But don’t think Müller is ignoring the sports car side of things, as a refreshed 911 will come later in 2015.
49. Stefano Domenicali, Audi
Though little is known about his role at Audi, Domenicali was the former Ferrari Formula 1 boss, so this new position should “help bring Audi up to speed for F1 racing by 2016.” Additionally, he will be heading FIA’s Single-Seater Commission to “develop young open-wheel racing talent,” so he’ll be poised for Audi’s F1 future.
50. Michael Horn, President & CEO, Volkswagen of America; President Of Volkswagen Of America Brand
MT points out that although VW is a juggernaut around the world, sales in the U.S. have fallen, so Horn − relatively new in this position − has his job cut out for him. The new Golf is helping, but what else does VW have in the pipeline? A wide range of crossovers and perhaps a pickup truck are needed for VW to succeed in the U.S. market.