BERLIN (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG appointed Matthias Mueller, its top car-model strategist, as CEO of Porsche AG. Mueller's job is to revive Porsche's lineup of luxury vehicles ahead of the brand's integration into VW.
Mueller, 57, will replace Porsche CEO Michael Macht, who will succeed Jochem Heizmann as VW Group's production chief, VW and Porsche said in separate statements today. The changes take effect Oct. 1.
Volkswagen, which aims to overtake Toyota Motor Corp. in deliveries and profitability in 2018, is taking over Porsche's carmaking operations as the companies build on a partnership that includes sharing vehicle platforms. Porsche wants to expand its four-model lineup to double sales in the medium term to 150,000 cars and SUVs.
“Porsche is getting access to VW technology and will be run as part of an efficient multibrand group,” Arndt Ellinghorst, a London-based analyst with Credit Suisse Group, said before the announcement. “For Porsche, that's opening up huge business prospects.”
Ellinghorst has “outperform” recommendations on both Porsche and VW preferred shares.
Porsche's deliveries in the nine months through April declined 0.1 percent to 53,605 vehicles. Full-year sales may still exceed the 75,238 deliveries of fiscal 2009 as a new version of the Cayenne SUV, its best-selling model, and a six-cylinder Panamera car reach showrooms, the company said June 18.
The Cayenne shares its chassis and major parts with Volkswagen's Touareg and the Q7 SUV made by VW's Audi luxury brand. Volkswagen also makes the Panamera's body.
VW made the announcement in advance of a press event in southern Germany to show a new version of the Sharan large minivan. The model, the Sharan's first revamp since its introduction in 1995, will be longer and have a wider wheelbase than the current van. The vehicle, priced starting at 28,875 euros ($36,300), will reach showrooms on Sept. 3.
Mueller led product management at Audi for four years through 2007 before he joined Volkswagen. His experience “will help guarantee that Porsche can build upon its leading position as a global brand,” the sports-car manufacturer said.
“Mueller is extremely well connected within the VW group” in contrast to Macht's ties to Porsche under Wiedeking, Ellinghorst said. “He seems perfectly placed to help integrate Porsche into a 10-brand structure in the best possible way.”