The decision, made by Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn, would have come as a major blow to Audi, which had lobbied significantly for the opportunity. There was reportedly a great deal of infighting taking place between Audi and Porsche over who would gain the opportunity.
Audi is not at a total loss, however. The Ingolstadt-based automaker will instead develop large SUV models for the Volkswagen Group, including those from Porsche. This means that the upcoming Cajun compact SUV, as well as the next-generation Cayenne, will be based on Audi engineering.
Note that the current Volkswagen Touareg, Porsche Cayenne and next-generation Audi Q7, the latter due in about two years, all share a common platform that was developed by Porsche.
An Audi spokesman confirmed to Automotive News that Audi will be responsible for developing large SUV model lines within the Volkswagen Group.
"This decision was made in agreement with all of the brands involved and will create synergies throughout the group to the benefit of both the brand and the customers," the spokesman said.
This means that the Porsche Cajun SUV, set to make its retail debut in 2014, will be based on an Audi platform, most likely the same design underpinning the Q5. It will also be the first Porsche wholly designed under the leadership of Volkswagen Group’s new design director Walter de' Silva, who will still work closely with Michael Mauer, the former head of design at Porsche.
[Automotive News, sub req’d]