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Mueller named Porsche CEO; Macht moves to VW

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Mueller named Porsche CEO; Macht moves to VW

July 6, 2010 14:36 CET

UPDATED: July 6 15:15 CET

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.

Sharing parts

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.

Macht was Porsche CEO for less than a year.

Macht, 49, spent a decade running Porsche's production before he was promoted to oversee the carmaking division after CEO Wendelin Wiedeking left the company following the collapse of Porsche's plans to take over VW.

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn is now also CEO of Porsche Automobil Holding SE, the holding company that owns the sports car maker.

“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.”

Heizman joined the VW Group board as head of production in 2007.

Heizmann, 58, a member of Volkswagen's executive board since February 2007, will head a new division responsible for truck operations, VW said today. His role would be to tighten cooperation between truckmakers Scania AB and MAN SE, people familiar with the matter said in April. Volkswagen holds 71 percent of the voting rights in Sweden-based Scania and is the biggest shareholder in Munich-based MAN with a 29.9 percent stake.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100706/ANE/100709936/1193#ixzz0suRsICcf

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