Ferdinand Piech is cultivating long standing traditions. He always liked to watch a good catfight between his people. In the olden days, he did let plants in Europe compete and bid for cars. Now for the battle royale: Who will develop the basics on which all future sports cars in the Volkswagen empire will be built? Porsche or Audi? The answer should be obvious:
At least that’s what would have been the case before Volkswagen swallowed Porsche after Porsche choked on Volkswagen. Now, there is a new kid in town. Porsche’s genes are not only pure sports cars. Porsche is also genetically tied to the boss. The boss also came to power via Audi. So Audi doesn’t want to throw in the towel.
The catfight is over who will preside over the development of the kit from which all sportier models in the vast array of Volkswagen brands will be built. The times of “platforms” are ancient history at VW. All cars at Volkswagen literally are kit cars.
There are two families of erector kits which can be assembled into all kinds of cars at Volkswagen. They have Teutonic names like “Modularer Querbaukasten” (MQB) and “Modularer Längsbaukasten” (MLB). The MQB has the engine “quer,” or transverse (like in most Volkswagen, SEATs, Skodas etc.). The MLB has the engine “längs,” or longitudinal, like in the larger Audis, future Bentleys etc. The quer kit falls under the purview of Wolfsburg, the längs kit is under the guiding hand of Ingolstadt. So far, so good.
Cue sound of hand slapping forehead. Now what about the mid-engine kit? Who will be the father of that brood of Legos? Says Automobilwoche [sub]: “Mid-engined cars are the Porsche Boxster and Cayman and the Audi R8.” They overlooked a few high volume models such as the Bugatti Veyron or the Lamborghini Gallardo.
Anyway, the fight for mid-engine kit design dominance is on. Says the Financial Times Deutschland: “In the end, Porsche will take the lead. To make both brands compete, and to pit engineers against each other, may not be the most noble form of management, but maybe it will be successful.”