Volkswagen has denied German newspaper reports that chairman, Ferdinand Piech, plans to step down from his post soon for health reasons.

Handelsblatt cited sources close to the 76-year old Piech as saying he is likely step down in the coming months because of poor health and wanted 66-year-old chief executive Martin Winterkorn to succeed him.

A spokeswoman said: “Dr Piech is in the best of health and will remain supervisory board chairman of Volkswagen for a long time."

Volkswagen's supervisory board meets at the end of this month and until then the company wants to keep its focus on next week's Frankfurt show, the paper added.

 Piech has pulled the strings at Volkswagen for 20 years, first as chief executive and later chairman, and has ruled over the company like no other figure since his grandfather, Ferdinand Porsche, first created the Beetle.

During his time in charge, VW has become the world's third largest carmaker and has purchasing luxury names such as Bentley and Lamborghini.