Porsche will increase the size of its two-seat roadster, the 2012 Boxster, in order to make room for a smaller and cheaper entry-level model based on the new Volkswagen BlueSport.
The next Boxster’s wheelbase and overall length will both grow, the latter to nearly 4.4 metres, providing more passenger and luggage space.
The timing of the arrival of he new convertible coincides with the end of Porsche’s contract with Valmet Automotive in Finland, where the current Boxster and Cayman are made. In early 2012, production of the cars will switch to Stuttgart.
Before then, incoming Porsche boss Matthias Muller will clear the way for a cheaper entry-level Porsche based on the new mechanicals of the VW BlueSport roadster, Autocar has learned.
Muller is an expert product planning strategist who’s proved his skills within the VW Group, and is a supporter of the three-pronged plan to put the BlueSport into production.
His remit from the highest ranks of the VW Group executive board is to integrate Porsche into the organisation by harmonising its production methods with those of its new sister brands, and by seizing opportunities for wider co-operation and component sharing with Audi in particular.
Porsche’s top man is also planning to demonstrate to the conservative old guard that its sports cars needn’t be 100 per cent unique to be successful.
The BlueSport roadster was a concept at the 2009 Detroit show and has since met with enough enthusiasm from interested buyers to convince VW that it deserves a future.
However, the business case for investment in a new platform for the BlueSport depends upon it being a ‘three-brand car’, with combined production volume of close to 100,000 units a year.
VW brand executives are keen to back the project, but their counterparts at Audi and Porsche — the two other VW Group brands who would need to offer models based on the BlueSport’s platform in order to make its business case viable — have been lukewarm.
But Muller could be the man to make the sub-£30,000 Porsche happen, thanks to his direct experience of Audi mechanicals — gained during his time working on Ingolstadt’s ‘MLP’ platform — plus an allegiance to advocates of the BlueSport proposal highly placed within the VW Group.
Muller also has the will to sway the conservative Stuttgart execs.