Having controlling interest in Volkswagen is looking as if it could be a boon to Porsche. Until now, Porsche's small size has forced the automaker to keep its focus on its bread-and-butter products: high-powered gasoline-engined sports cars and SUVs. Now that it has Volkswagen's resources at its disposal, however, it will have the opportunity and the capacity to diversify its product roster to align better with the stricter emissions standards coming to Europe.
This will be evident when the forthcoming Cayenne and Panamera hybrids arrive on the scene. Porsche feels that adding the green powertrains will help insulate the automaker from environmental criticism, and they're probably right. And if the landscape continues to become less friendly to Porsche's traditional business, this is another place where VW could help matters. Should Porsche ever change its mind and decide to go the diesel route -- and the Cayenne and Panamera would again seem the most obvious candidates -- there's already a full line of proven, high-powered engines available from VW and Audi that could fit the bill nicely. Most importantly for Porsche, the advent of the performance hybrid and the inarguable success of the diesel engine in sports car racing has created an environment where it can keep its sporting credentials while cleaning up at the same time. Better still, it can continue building Boxsters and 911s just the way they are as it acclimates itself to using other technologies. This is what's called having your cake, eating it, and eating the plate, too. Bully for them.