Contrary to the initial fears that a Volkswagen-owned Porsche would be reduced to selling rebadged VWs and Audis (a fear somewhat realized in the upcoming Cajun), it now seems Porsche has moved to the top of VW Group's engineering food chain. In addition to sports cars, it will also engineer the basic components for a wide range of full-size cars, including the 2016 Audi A8.
The integration of Porsche and Suzuki makes a very good starting point for the overdue revision of Volkswagen Group's brand structure, which currently consists of three bundles packed more or less at random: VW/Bentley/Bugatti/Skoda, Audi/Seat/Lamborghini, and Scania/MAN. In the future, we can expect the brands to be grouped by the sort of architecture they use, with each of the major brands (VW, Audi, Porsche) in charge of developing that architecture. VW, for instance, will create the architecture for front-wheel-drive (transverse-engine) cars, whereas Audi will build an architecture for its lineup of sedans that feature a longitudinally placed engine.
The big winner, though, is Porsche. Not only has it scored development of most of VW Group's sports cars, but it will also be engineering the architecture for the following large sedans:
- Panamera replacement, Panamera derivatives, long-wheelbase Panamera (2011)
- Bentley Continental GT, GTC, and Flying Spur replacements, other versions (2014)
- Next-generation Bentley Mulsanne/Azure/Brooklands
- Full-size Lamborghini coupé/sedan (2017)
- New "small" Bentley positioned below Conti GT family, including derivatives (2015)
- Audi A8 replacement, Audi A9 coupe and convertible (2016)
- Bugatti Galibier, next VW Phaeton (unless VW chooses to derive this model from the Audi A7)