I don’t know Porsche CEO Matthias Müller, but I like his story and how he comes across. Stuttgart does too, as it has just renewed his contract for five more years from January 2015.
Though Matthias Müller’s VAG passport is well established, the boss has always made the right noises about Porsche’s positioning within VW, inspiring faith in his plans for the brand. Talking to the Telegraph’s Andrew English soon after taking the Porsche job in late 2010, the two enjoyed a set-to over the risks of shared engineering across VW badges.
AE: Isn’t there a danger that all this sharing will dilute what a Porsche actually stands for?
MM: No other company can manage nine brands like the VW Group. You know that a VW is a VW and an Audi is an Audi.
AE: No it isn’t, the Audi A1 is a barely disguised VW Polo…
MM: Well, as long as I am chief executive, a Porsche will be a Porsche. I do not want to compromise or disappoint our customers.
Müller has stuck to his word. The current range feels Porsche-like from here, and (impressively) has really taken shape since Q1 2011, when the new CEO’s first proper product strategy meet established the targets that should see Porsche sell 200,000 cars by 2018. How that explosion tallies with our old-school Porsche relationships is an ecumenical matter, but the powers that be certainly enjoy what Müller is doing post-Weideking.
“The company has continued to develop positively and the integration of the sports car manufacturer into the Volkswagen Group worked perfectly,” said Dr Wolfgang Porsche. “We look forward to working with [Matthias] in the years to come.”
“The integration into the Volkswagen Group and the independence of Porsche are no contradiction, they stand for success,” said Chairman of the general and group works council of Porsche AG, Uwe Hück. “In spite of this growth, we want to preserve the proven Porsche culture and we will continue to go down this road with Matthias Müller. He is an employer with a heart and quite simply, that’s good for Porsche”.
An employer with heart, and his hand on the tiller to at least 2020. What’s the verdict out there?