Rabe will join the British luxury car brand’s board at the start of August, replacing Werner Tietz, who will become Seat's new executive vice-president for research and development.
Rabe has worked in the Volkswagen Group since 1988. He was Seat’s technical chief from 2011 until switching to his current role at Volkswagen in March 2019, where his projects have included the Golf GTI and work on the forthcoming ID 3 electric hatchback.
During his time at Seat, Rabe helped develop the current Ibiza and Leon, spearhead the expansion of the firm’s SUV range and developed the initial models for the Cupra performance brand. He also helped push development of Seat’s first bespoke EV.
Bentley boss Adrian Hallmark said Rabe’s “previous range of experiences, including leading technology development will prove valuable to us as we look to our next generation of models, technologies and to lead sustainable luxury mobility in the future”.
Bentley has introduced its first hybrid model this year and is currently developing its first electric production car, which Autocar understands is likely to be a ‘radical’ high-riding saloon due in 2025.
Tietz joined the Volkswagen Group in 1994 and had stints at Audi and Porsche before his two-year stint as head of development at Bentley. In his new role as Seat’s technical boss, he will replace Axel Andorff, who joined the brand in March 2019 after previously serving as Mercedes-Benz’s head of concept development for electric vehicle architecture.
Andorff will in turn switch to Skoda as head of the Midsize and MEB product lines. He will replace Matthias Glodny, who shifts to Volkswagen as head of modular toolkits, drivetrains and modules product line.
A direct replacement for Rabe as Volkswagen's chief technology officer hasn't been named.