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VW poaches Apple exec Alexander Hitzinger for its self-driving car program

The German automaker is doing its best to outspend and outpace Silicon Valley in the race to autonomy.

Alex Hitzinger is making the jump back to the Volkswagen group after a stint at Apple's Project Titan.

Hoch Zwei/Getty Images

The folks over at Volkswagen have been headhunting lately and their latest catch is former Apple exec Alexander Hitzinger. He's slated to head up technical development for Volkswagen's commercial vehicles division as well as its self-driving car and mobility-as-a-service programs, according to a report published Wednesday by Reuters.

Hitzinger is no stranger to things at the Volkswagen group having previously done a stint at Porsche as technical director of its LMP1 prototype racing program. He's also worked in Formula 1 with Red Bull Racing. His position at Apple saw him working on its Project Titan self-driving car program.

Volkswagen's acquisition of Hitzinger is a sign that the German giant is working to keep up with the more agile self-driving car startups from Silicon Valley. The company has been throwing its considerable resources -- to the tune of $50 billion -- at electric and autonomous vehicles since it was outed for diesel emissions cheating.

Volkswagen has debuted a number of electric and autonomous concept vehicles over the past year including I.D. Crozz and I.D. Vizzion. It's also working on a low-cost electric hatchback that it says will retail for under $23,000, though this may not come to the US.