One of the first challenges that the new CEO of Porsche AG faces is the introduction of a new line of smaller Boxster sports cars. Matthias Mueller, who is 57 years old, holds the task of revitalizing Porsche's lineup. Mueller replaces Michael Macht, who succeeds Jochem Heizmann as Volkswagen AG's production chief beginning October 1.
In the first nine months, deliveries of the Boxster and Cayman mid-engine sports cars dropped by 12% to 7,630 units (less than half of the sales of Porsche's topseller, the Cayenne model).
To halt the decline, Porsche introduced the 53,100 euro ($67,000) Boxster Spyder last February. It is equipped with a 3.4-liter six-cylinder engine and is built to be driven with its textile roof down.
At an event near Munich, VW CEO Martin Winterkorn told reporters that they have to "make progress with Porsche" and that Mueller is the "right person" for the job.
He described Mueller to have "excellent ideas" as well as a "very clear concept" of how to bring new products in line. The decision to tap Mueller is also indicative of Winterkorn's intention to complete a merger with Porsche next year.
Volkswagen, which seeks to surpass Toyota Motor Corp. in terms of deliveries and profitability by 2018, is taking over Porsche Automobil Holding SE's carmaking operations as they build on a partnership that includes sharing vehicle platforms.
Porsche seeks to expand its four-model lineup to double sales in the medium term to 150,000 cars and SUVs.