Dr. Ing. h.c. Rudolf Leidingwas the third post-war Chairman of the Volkswagen automobile company (Volkswagenwerk AG), succeeding Kurt Lotz in 1971. Less than three weeks after taking over from Lotz at Wolfsburg, Leiding halted work on EA266 (Development Project 266). This was the development of a sophisticated - (from a production engineer's standpoint over-sophisticated) - mid-engined successor to the Beetle which was being developed by a Porsche team under a well regarded young engineer named Piëch on Volkswagen's behalf. Under Leiding's leadership, the Volkswagen Golf was completed, and went on sale in Europe in June 1974, introduced in North America as the Rabbit seven months later. The Golf was credited with saving VW from possible bankruptcy after the company had relied on the Beetle too long. Rudolf Leiding left the company early in 1975 and was replaced by Toni Schmücker.