One thing is obvious to anyone hearing a Porsche 356 drive past: It sounds like a Beetle.
That's no accident: There is a considerable technical relationship between the two cars' air-cooled, four-cylinder Boxer engine in the rear, platform frame and torsion springs. Greater perhaps than would ever be dared in the combined Volkswagen-Porsche company today.
Now two companies that belong together are growing together. Porsche is VW's tenth corporate brand. That was certain even before the most recent squabbling.
And it makes sense. Synergies can only arise if Porsche moves closer to Volkswagen. Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking realized this very late -- and it may cost him his job.
It wasn't his only mistake in the takeover battle over VW. In his whole approach toward supervisory board and union members, he was spoiling for a fight. Wiedeking made more enemies than he needed to with his wholly unnecessary battles over the two-thirds majority needed for plant closings that would never occur, and over image-building, low-profit models at VW ("No more toys!").
He and his financial whiz Holger Haerter were even more amazing in their dealings with the banks participating in the deal. They led the international banking elite around their arena with a ring in their nose and made bankers furious when Porsche's options deals for VW shares cost them billions last autumn.
People are probably taking pleasure in this, given the financial crisis that banks unleashed. But anyone behaving that way can't afford to make a mistake.
The 9 billion euro, or $12.15 billion at current exchange rates, loan for the purchase of more VW share certainly wasn't the first, but it was the most momentous mistake -- and arguably the last for Wiedeking and Haerter.
The bankers now have had their revenge. Everything has come full circle.
It is to the credit of Ferdinand Piëch, a major Porsche shareholder and chair of the VW supervisory board, that he won't permit Wiedeking to help himself to VW's ample corporate coffers in his hour of need.
That means that Piëch is acting against his own financial interests. But he is acting on behalf of all of VW, as corporate law dictates. Piëch's life work is to make VW the global leader. If necessary, he might even sacrifice Porsche to do that. But it won't come to that.
There is enough room under the VW roof for a sports car maker in need. So Wiedeking remains the victim of his own hubris.
Guido Reinking is editor of Automobilwoche.