Audi’s hopes were crushed when Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn finally decided to give Porsche the lead in developing sports cars and big luxury sedans for VW group. For the last several months, Audi’s executives and engineers have been heavily lobbying for this role.
Winterkorn made the announcement just before Porsche's annual meeting on Nov. 30, allaying apprehensions at Porsche that it would be kept at the sidelines as it becomes VW group's 10th brand.
Porsche will soon begin the development of VW's so-called "modular standard matrix" that will underpin the Porsche Panamera and future Bentleys.
Porsche is also tasked to create a sports car platform for front-mid- and rear-mid-engine cars for Porsche, Audi and Lamborghini. Initially, VW had wanted Porsche to use a VW-developed sports car architecture for cars such as the 911.
But Porsche engineers disapproved of this move because they fear that VW underpinnings won’t have the stiff handling that had made Porsche cars famous. Christoph Stuermer, an IHS Global Insight automotive analyst, said that Porsche is the leading sports car brand in the VW group.
Stuermer approves of Winterkorn’s move, even going as far as calling it a “brilliant solution.” Porsche will be able to develop VW's sports car architecture according to its standards but VW will have “closer control of Porsche's engineering.” [via autonews - sub. required]