Porsche-VW Anschluss: The Worrying Bits

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Volkswagen and Porsche are about to make it official, as Volkswagen has now bought nearly 49.9 percent of Porsche. And though we’ve had plenty of time to get used to the idea, there are some troubling indications for the future of the Porsche brand in particular. As usual, the worries begin with an executive (in this case, VW/Porsche’s Michael Macht) explaining exactly how the company will be able to have its cake and eat it too.

Porsche needs to become a strong pillar of VW, as well as having its own production and research and development capabilities. It is important to 
use synergies as well as having independence… Any new model would have to be exclusive, sporting and make a good business case. In any segment Porsche has to be the most exclusive, as well as being the best quality and capable of delivering the best driving experience

Unsurprisingly though, these fine sentiments are mere prelude to the nasty reality.

Macht tells Autocar that

The Panamera platform could be used by other brands for models that are in development and at the concept stage

What, like an Audi A8? After all, as Jack Baruth notes in his review of the Panamera Turbo over at Speed:Sport:Life (a TTAC review was verboten), “the ‘Porsche of luxury sedans’ was, and continues to be, the Audi A8.” Jack’s prescience may have been more literal than he imagined. But who cares, right? The Panamera isn’t a real Porsche any more than a Cayenne is. Right?

When asked if the 911 platform was also on the table, Macht said it “could be made available to other VW brands”

Considering VW CEO Martin Winterkorn has laid out the challenge: “who plays the multi-brand game better than us?” the mind boggles just a bit. But since Porsche engines are said to be off-limits to other VW Group brands (er, except for the ones they already share), it’s hard to imagine a VW engine interfacing with a 911 platform (with say, a SEAT badge). The real worry here is the reborn rumors of a Roxster baby-ute and a Bluesport-based sub-Boxster. The combination of boosted volume, sharing unique platforms and rebadging Q5s and Bluesports creates a troubling picture of Porsche’s future. But maybe that’s just what happens when you gamble big and lose.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

More by Edward Niedermeyer

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 30 comments
  • Lokkii Lokkii on Oct 23, 2009

    RE: the new 914. A great idea. Of course, it must look like it belongs the Porsche family - an offspring of mating with a 911- following the rules set by the Boxster,Cayenne,Cayman, Panamera et al. So we will make it a tiny 911 - we can call it a "One Series".

  • DanyloS DanyloS on Oct 23, 2009

    I concur with many of the above posts if Porsche would like to hit the lofty sales goals that have been mentioned in the past a "lower priced" not "cheaper" car needs to be built. A revival of the 914 or 356. Make it spartan and light weight, less electronics, somewhere between the size of an Elise and Boxster/Cayman. But please instead of using the 1.8T or 2.0T Porsche really needs to use a Subaru Flat-4 mounted in the middle or behind the rear axle. A naturally aspirated base model and 260-300hp Turbo model would work. Let the Cayman keep getting the 911 hand-me down horsepower increases. The flat engine heritage needs to be kept. If the weight and price can be kept down (ideally well under 3000lbs @ $25-35k) and practicality can be maintained (ie some trunk space, ability to mount a roof rack as all current P-cars do). Then Porsche you have a buyer.

  • ToolGuy First picture: I realize that opinions vary on the height of modern trucks, but that entry door on the building is 80 inches tall and hits just below the headlights. Does anyone really believe this is reasonable?Second picture: I do not believe that is a good parking spot to be able to access the bed storage. More specifically, how do you plan to unload topsoil with the truck parked like that? Maybe you kids are taller than me.
  • ToolGuy The other day I attempted to check the engine oil in one of my old embarrassing vehicles and I guess the red shop towel I used wasn't genuine Snap-on (lots of counterfeits floating around) plus my driveway isn't completely level and long story short, the engine seized 3 minutes later.No more used cars for me, and nothing but dealer service from here on in (the journalists were right).
  • Doughboy Wow, Merc knocks it out of the park with their naming convention… again. /s
  • Doughboy I’ve seen car bras before, but never car beards. ZZ Top would be proud.
  • Bkojote Allright, actual person who knows trucks here, the article gets it a bit wrong.First off, the Maverick is not at all comparable to a Tacoma just because they're both Hybrids. Or lemme be blunt, the butch-est non-hybrid Maverick Tremor is suitable for 2/10 difficulty trails, a Trailhunter is for about 5/10 or maybe 6/10, just about the upper end of any stock vehicle you're buying from the factory. Aside from a Sasquatch Bronco or Rubicon Jeep Wrangler you're looking at something you're towing back if you want more capability (or perhaps something you /wish/ you were towing back.)Now, where the real world difference should play out is on the trail, where a lot of low speed crawling usually saps efficiency, especially when loaded to the gills. Real world MPG from a 4Runner is about 12-13mpg, So if this loaded-with-overlander-catalog Trailhunter is still pulling in the 20's - or even 18-19, that's a massive improvement.
Next