For anyone old enough to remember the parlous state Porsche got itself into in the mid 1990s, the news that it is to be taken over by VW will smack of the greatest irony.
Back then when things were at their very worst, authorities who reckoned Porsche could survive as an independent were rarer than the Giant Galapagos Tortoise and yet it did, thanks in very large part to the drive and determination of one Wendelin Wiedeking, the same man who today was unceremonially dumped with only a €50 million golden auf wiedersehen to help mop up the tears.
Compare that to the rather more recent past when, also under Wiedeking’s guidance, Porsche became the most profitable car company on earth with the clout to raise enough money to take control of Europe’s largest car maker. Yet despite or perhaps because of this, over 60 years of jealously guarded independence is today at an end.
How will Porsche fare under VW? If the other companies under its wing provide reliable evidence, just fine. VW money and direction have transformed Bentley and Lamborghini while Audi’s rise seems more relentless than ever and Skoda is no longer a bad joke but a serious player. It has also successfully resurrected Bugatti, which is no mean feat.
It will be interesting too to see what VW does with Porsche’s product. On the one hand it’s clear you don’t need a Touareg/Q7 and a Cayenne, a 911 and an R8, a Boxster/Cayman and a TT. On the other VW has never been shy about letting its brands compete with eachother and I don’t imagine the Porsche takeover will change that.
A large part of me wishes Porsche was still its own boss but on balance I would guess that, after today’s news, its future is more and not less bright.