Copyright 2009 by Joe Nuxoll for High Gear Media

Copyright 2009 by Joe Nuxoll for High Gear Media

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn won't officially take over the helm at Porsche until September 15, but already he's talking about some big changes in store for Porsche. One near-term goal: to double sales within four years.

Getting Porsche's sales figures to reach twice their current levels won't be easy, but the recent introduction of the Panamera could help the brand reach a broader market. The Cayenne SUV helped move the marque beyond its previous sports-car-only niche, and the Panamera is expected to take that to the next level.

But getting sales to top 150,000 units per year will take work even with the addition of the Panamera. Nevertheless, Winterkorn has set his sights on reaching that number by 2012 or 2013, as he told German-language publication Manager Magazin.

Also on deck to help push sales figures even higher: a new, possibly VW Bluesport-based sub-Boxster model and a smaller SUV/crossover to complement the Cayenne. With the addition of those cars, Porsche would be nearing the status of full-line carmaker, as opposed to its traditional role of focused, performance-driven models.

That change has many long-time brand supporters up in arms, but the alternative to the VW tie-up might have been even worse for Porsche, as it was carrying over $9 billion in debt and in danger of insolvency. Losing its independence, as tough as that is, is preferable to ceasing to exist altogether, or even worse, a forced liquidation.

Read up on our previous coverage for more on the Porsche-VW merger and Porsche's potential role under the new corporate umbrella.