Plug-in Porsche Panamera a possibility
Platform-sharing within VW Group
There may also be more platform-sharing between Porsche and other companies within the Volkswagen Group to cut the costs and time it takes to develop new models. Porsche’s big SUV, the Cayenne, shares a great deal with the VW Touareg and Audi Q7.
Muller hinted that links between Porsche and Bentley are one possibility being looked at. However, he insisted that even if the ties are strengthened there will be no watering-down of what Porsche stands for. ‘As long as I am CEO of Porsche, a Porsche will always be a Porsche,’ he said.
The four-cylinder Boxster and Cayman are not confirmed yet, but Muller said the engine – based on the flat-six units currently in both cars – was under development. ‘It is not yet ready for production,’ he said.
Likewise, the plug-in hybrid Panamera is still some way off, if it appears at all. ‘It is not confirmed, but I recently drove a prototype,’ said Muller. The powertrain is an all-Porsche development, although it would have to be shared with other companies within the group if it goes ahead.
911 stays as it is
The iconic 911 will not be subject to downsizing, though. ‘It would be a risk and I do not want to take risks with the icon of Porsche,’ said Muller. ‘I will not say never, but today and tomorrow the 911 will remain a six-cylinder car. It is a special case.’
On the subject of platform-sharing, Muller said that Porsche’s Weissach research and development centre had become available to help the whole group, and that the modular architectures it develops could help Bentley, which is ‘too small to create its own solutions’. He then back-tracked slightly and said: ‘It is only an offer’.
Porsche is currently in the middle of a big sales push in China, the world’s largest car market, but is unlikely to follow other car companies by setting up assembly operations there in the foreseeable future. ‘Some time ago I thought “is it a possibility”,’ said Muller, ‘but today you have to have joint ventures so you get only half the revenue and there are issues about intellectual properties. Also China does not produce premium cars. Right now it is better for Volkswagen and Audi.’