Porsche CEO on the Panamera: "The Design Could Have Been Better"

Porsche Panamera Hybrid - H 2013
Porsche Press

Porsche Panamera Hybrid - H 2013

Matthias Mueller's unvarnished remarks about the Panamera's styling echo that of car enthusiasts. Still, the car remains one of Porsche's best sellers

Since its launch in 2009, the Porsche Panamera — an $80,000 four-passenger extrapolation of the classic 911 sports car — has remained a polarizing vehicle.

Vilified by purists as a defilement of the 911, the Panamera was a game-changer for Porsche. Along with the Cayenne SUV, which doubled Porsche's market share after it was introduced in 2003, the Panamera expanded the Stuttgart-based marque's reach beyond its sports car legacy and remains one of Porsche's best-selling cars (Porsche delivered 4,395 Panameras so far this year, compared to 3,024 Boxsters).

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Nevertheless, the Panamera always seemed slightly ungainly compared to other Porsches and to sleek counterparts like the Maserati Quattroporte, Aston Martin Rapide and even the Tesla Model S.

Now, Porsche's own CEO admits that the Panamera is a bit of a dog.

In remarks made to Australia's MotoringMatthias Muller admitted that "there have been some small mistakes and we will do it better," adding, "for example, the design could have been better ... including the interior."

Mueller said the issues would be corrected with the second-generation Panamera, due in 2016. "We have addressed certain things and I think it is more attractive," he said.

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But don't look for a radical departure from the present Panamera, Mueller said. "So the car will look different, it will look better, but you will immediately see that it is the Panamera."

Mueller seems resigned to the fact that the car will remain controversial.

"I am sure a lot of people won't like the design of the next generation," he said. "And that's fine by me. I would prefer to have cars and products that polarize rather than just being  OK."