“While the models would likely survive until 2016, it appears VW’s Chairman, Ferdinand Piëch, wants Porsche to focus on sports cars instead of doing a little bit of everything. In a rather ironic turn of events, Piëch will effectively kill off the models spearheaded by ousted Porsche boss Wendelin Wiedeking. As you may recall, Wiedeking was one of the masterminds behind Porsche’s failed attempt to takeover Volkswagen.
Despite having mixed feelings about the Cayenne, it’s undeniable that the sport-ute was a huge money maker for Porsche. This makes a possible death sentence a little questionable, especially since Piëch wants to double Porsche sales in four years.
To accomplish this goal, Volkswagen will likely develop a shared platform that would underpin a new entry-level Porsche as well as a sporty new VW or Audi (Bluesport Concept or next generation TT / new R4). There is even talk of a new Carrera GT successor, but questions have been raised about VW’s willingness to let it compete with Lamborghini, Bugatti and Audi (the R8 V10 specifically).”
The Cayenne was Porsche’s saving grace. I remember listening to Fred Schwab, former CEO Porsche North America, explain the entrance into SUV territory at the J.D. Power Round Table about eight years ago. Fred simply stated, “We surveyed our owners and found 50% of them had a SUV in the garage. We want them to have a Porsche badge on it. There should be no reason they should go to our competition to get what we can provide better.”
I also remember in 1993 an intern that used to work for me in Detroit. His family was well connected with Porsche and owned a Porsche distributorship in Germany. He was interning at an ad agency in America because his father knew our CEO. He took out an Automotive News and circled Piëch’s picture. He warned me to watch out for him. I’ll never forget it. Now look, there is no escaping him. Unfortunately, I agree with the decisions Piëch is talking about. If you overlap, you become GM and die. If you work a marque’s strengths, then each brand will succeed.
Porsche is great at sports cars. They survived off of one retail model, the 356, and then its replacement, the 911, for twenty-two years before offering up the 914. In fact, the biggest dings on overall brand image were the VW shared platforms of the 914 and 924. Ooops. But then again, VW was the foundation for the company. Dr. Porsche built the first 356 on VW goods. Heck, my own 912 has been the victim of constant ridicule for being a “VW.” Rubish I say. The car is brilliant as are 356s.
It’s going to be a real, real interesting takeover.