Porsche and VW: What the Hell Happened?

Tyson Mangeldorf

The Fallout

With car guy Ferdinand Piëch back in charge, the future of Porsche will differ dramatically from Wiedeking's profit-above-all-else vision. The focus will be to burnish Porsche's reputation as the world's leading sports car manufacturer.

The first of Wiedeking's babies to be axed will be the Cayenne II and the Panamera, although the process will take some time. Unfortunately, the Panamera is brand-new and needs to go full life-cycle, from 2010 to 2017. The Cayenne will be replaced next year and is also going to be with us for seven more years. A source from within VW HQ explains: "We pulled the plug too late. There should not be a new VW Touareg or a new Audi Q7, and there should be no more Cayenne. These vehicles are too big, too heavy, too thirsty. They damage the brands, send out the wrong message, and are no longer socially acceptable. They will have to bite the dust after the next generation. The Audi Q5 and VW Tiguan are the right size and the right concept. That's why it would make sense to derive the next Cayenne from the next Q5."

And the Panamera? "The Panamera faces similar problems. We are considering letting Lamborghini use it for the Estoque, but midterm it also needs to go. We could replace it with a rebodied, high-performance derivative of the next Audi S7 or RS7 Sportback. Such a vehicle would be 650 pounds lighter and would feature a hybrid drivetrain. We could even derive a beautiful two-door coupe from this components set. Think of it as the modern 928."

A new supercar, along the lines of the Carrera GT, is considered a must-have. It may be developed in conjunction with Lamborghini and Bugatti to create enough volume for trend-setting technologies.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, a reincarnated 356 is important as well. At this point, it isn't clear whether the car will join the upcoming VW/Audi mid-engine coupe/roadster (previewed by the BlueSport show car) or be twinned with the Boxster.

Still another new car could be based on the Modular Sports Car Structure (MSS) being prepared for Bentley, Lamborghini, and Bugatti. MSS would clear the way for a more upmarket mid-engine sports car powered by a flat eight. The flat eight would be based on the six-cylinder boxer engine, in the same way the flat four is to be its downsized sibling.

If this game plan materializes, Porsche would add three new sports cars within the next six years.

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