2010 Porsche Panamera
Under the leadership of Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piech, Porsche may be subjected to fairly strict controls -- at least as far as the marque's lineup is concerned. Most importantly for Porsche enthusiasts, rumor has it that the company's new owner will axe the Porsche Cayenne SUV and Panamera sedan when their product cycles wind down seven years from now.
This is potentially great news for Porsche. Many have accused the Cayenne of diluting the normally sporty Porsche family with a perfunctory SUV for upscale soccer moms. Similarly, the brand-new Panamera has been the target of frequent ridicule in the press, in part because of its less-than-stellar design. The two models are indicative of former Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking's bold, expansionist style -- including his failed efforts to take over VW entirely.
If all goes as planned, Porsche will return to the business of producing only sportscars, allowing VW to supply the sedans and SUVs for its growing family of vehicles. That sounds like a great strategy to most of us, and a smart, simple way to strengthen the Porsche brand.
However, there'll be no iron curtain between VW and Porsche, and the two will certainly share technology down the line. Analysts speculate that VW will borrow a platform from Porsche fairly soon, and a report in Car Magazine suggests that Porsche might base a future entry-level mid-engine sportscar on Volkswagen's evolving Modular Sportscar Structure. Plans for a supercar successor to the Carrera GT they also be in works -- though where that might fit into the Volkswagen Group's sprawling family of Audis, Bentleys, Bugattis, and Lamborghinis remains to be seen.