So Porsche says it can’t make a business case for small cars. The new millennium 914 is off, Porsche AG board member Klaus Berning told Automotive News. Coincidentally, this news comes after Volkswagen AG had offered to help Porsche out of its $13 billion in debt in exchange for 49 percent of the company. VW gave Porsche to Monday to decide on the offer. Scion and Chairman Wolfgang Porsche told his cousin, VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech what to do with the offer.
“Ultimatums don’t belong in the 21st Century,” Porsche told The Financial Times. “We won’t be blackmailed.”
The biggest of Machievellian twists is this: much of Porsche’s $13-billion in debt comes from buying up majority interest — 51 percent — of Volkswagen.
This story is the very definition of incest. In addition to being VW’s chairman, Piech is a Porsche board member. Ferdinand Piech and his cousin, Wolfgang Porsche, have been engaged in a rather public feud for several years.
Some say Piech fell out of favor with Porsche AG when, anticipating a change in Can-Am series rules, he built 16-cylinder engines for the 917. They were costly and never used, and Piech left for Audi in 1972. In the ensuing years, his passion for odd engine configurations, from five-bangers to W-12s, thrived.
Porsche had already turned to VW for the 914, which was sold in Europe as the “VW-Porsche 914.” And the 2.0-liter 924 was originally designed to be an Audi.
Porsche worked on a new entry-level car, the front-wheel-drive 976, in 1992-93, using at least part of the VW Golf’s platform. The project was scuttled after Piech unveiled the Golf-based Audi TT, a car now available with a five-cylinder engine.
And until right about now, Porsche was looking at a rear-mid-engine, four-cylinder sub-Boxster, based on the Concept Bluemotion that VW has just officially approved for production (our European correspondent, Paul Horrell, reported in the April issue that Audi already is working on its version).
No doubt, a Porsche based on the concept would cost way more than the Audi, let alone the VW, version. And yet, the mid-engine, four-cylinder Porsche would have to come in substantially below the Boxster’s $47,395 price.
“There is no business case,” to repeat Klaus Berning’s words, “for Porsche in small cars.”
There would be no business case, or at least no reason for Porsche in luxury sedans and sport/utility vehicles, if it was part of VW, or if VW was part of it. And that’s where the two automakers were heading even after decades of Piech-Porsche family feuds.
While I generally worry about what happens to a brand’s equity and identity when it’s absorbed into a larger automaker, Porsche and VW are clear exceptions, since they have the same founder and have worked closely together for some 60 years. Porsche needs a relatively high-volume fuel-efficient model or two to meet stringent new Corporate Average Fuel Economy, and especially, European Union CO2 emissions standards. So far, it has just two models on the way to handle the problem, the hybrid Panamera and hybrid Cayenne. Ending the Piech-Porsche family feud and absorbing Porsche into VW Group’s CAFE and CO2 numbers is a better solution for the integrity of the Porsche brand.
If only the families could get along, it wouldn’t matter who owned whom.
Source : blogs.motortrend.com/6554346/corporate/ferdinand-piech-and-the-new-porsche-914/index.html