Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Porsche under VW

The dust has settled, and the old independent Porsche has gone, they are now one of 10 brands under the VW umbrella.

While its easy to be sentimental about this, I'm not so worried. Just over a year ago I blogged on Porsche's 2008 Le Mans effort; a decent enough barometer of the organisation's spiritual health here. If anything, 2009 was worse. All of the 997GT3RSR's failed, their best effort was 10th in class. Of the only other two Porsche entries (there were none in LMP1 or GT2), one broke, and one came first in the LMP2 class, again against essentially amateur competition.

All in all, the company's worst performance since the 50's.

Meanwhile, they launched the Pamamera, which whilst it is a stupendous piece of technology, you really have to wonder at the relevance (in Northern Europe at least) of two tonne, 500bhp cars.

Now Ferdinand Piech's VW broom is sweeping through Zuffenhausen and Weissach. According to CAR magazine's sources, this is the new direction:

- Development of Porsche as a pure sports only marque; VAG has enough SUV's and large saloons
- As a result 2014 will see the end of Cayenne an Panamera production and just one generation
- A flat 8 engined supercar above the 997/911
- A flat 4 engined '356' replacement under the Boxster/Cayman, using VAG floorpans
- The pursuit of lightweight chassis architecture, including twin-turbo versions of the four
- Introduction of Clubsport versions of the 997/987
- Development of a proper motorsport programme

A younger Piech had enormous influence in Porsche's development in the 60's; he was behind the classic prototypes, from the 906 to the 917, an huge effort for the small company at the time. Don't let us forget he's also Dr Ferdinand Porsche grandson.

If the 74 year old has still the energy and drive needed, and even if only half of CAR's predictions are correct, in 5 years time Porsche is going to be in much better shape than it was as the end of the Wiedekind era.


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