Deep Dive: Porsche takes control of full-size car development at VW Group

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 coupĂ©/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)

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Pich knows the engineering prowess of Porsche; after all he was a big part of it way back when. My only concern is whether the focus of Porsche Engineering will become too diluted in intent when it comes time to build what they in the past have done best. Having driven the Panamera I certainly think that they're more than capable, but if they're spread thin across Bugatti, Bentley and Audi, will that vision remain intact for the Porsche brand? Should prove interesting, if anything.
Edward A. Sanchez
This is actually excellent news, IMHO. Porsche is good at making (relatively) lightweight, agile cars for their respective class. Full-size sedans are one segment that could use that treatment most.

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