Meadow Rain Walker, the 16-year-old daughter of Paul Walker, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Porsche. The lawsuit claims the Carrera GT Walker was riding in when he died had design flaws that made it unfit to be driven on the road. Walker’s lawsuit also claims the Porsche supercar “lacked safety features” that could have saved the life of her father and his friend, Roger Rodas, when the Carrera GT caught fire after hitting a pole back in November 2013. The crash and resulting fire burned Walker and Rodas.
Shortly after the filing of the lawsuit, Porsche responded by maintaining the Carrera GT’s innocence in the crash, pointing to the investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department that concluded that the crash that killed Walker resulted from “reckless driving and excessive speed.” The company did say that it had not reviewed the lawsuit, but declined making comments relating to the case.
Regardless of the validity of the lawsuit’s claims, it’s hard not to understand why Meadow Walker has filed it. She lost her father in a car that has earned a reputation for being impossible to drive despite the amount of technological features it had when it was launched in 2004. Former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson compared the car’s handling to being on the “knife’s edge” during a review of the Carrera GT back in 2008.
On the flip side, Walker, Rodas, and everybody who has driven the Carrera GT know what the supercar is capable of. Proper caution should have been of utmost importance, especially if it was going to be driven out in public. The results of the investigation have already cleared Porsche and the Carrera GT from any responsibility, so it’s going to be interesting how this case moves forward.
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It looks like things have turned sour at Porsche headquarters in the past few months. At the beginning of this year, a former Porsche dealer in India, Precision Cars, filed a criminal case against Porsche and the courts in Jaipur decided that Porsche CEO, Mattias Müller, and eight other Porsche execs could be arrested and issued warrants for said arrests.
Now, Porsche’s is facing other difficulties. Ex-finance chief, Holger Haerter, has been convicted of fraud after a court in Stuttgart, Germany proved he provided falsified information back in 2009 when Porsche tried to take over Volkswagen AG. The court decided that Haerter offered inaccurate information when he was working on refinancing French bank BNP Paribas’ part of a €10 billion loan ($13 billion). The biggest issue at hand is that this false information affected Volkswagen’s stock price and lead to market manipulation.
Reports say that prosecutors wanted him to serve time in jail, but instead he was fined an unspecified amount. Haerter rejected the charges and argued for an acquittal.
Click past the jump to read more about Volkswagen’s takeover.
When you work with people - and we can’t honestly find any segment of the industry that does not require it - there will always be at least one person not happy with the things you do or decide. Exactly the same happened to Porsche in India where apparently they managed to get their former dealer - Precision Cars - very angry.
In fact, things are very complicated as Precision Cars filed a criminal case against Porsche and the courts in Jaipur decided that Porsche CEO, Mattias Müller, and eight other Porsche execs can be arrested and issued warrants for said arrests.
In 2003, Porsche announced that Precision Cars would be its local distributor of cars in India. However, all of that changed in May of last year, as Porsche selected Volkswagen to be their distributor instead. Now Precision Cars claims they were not notified of the change and that leads to a breach in the contract.
Along with the criminal case against Porsche execs, the dealer also asked Interpol to help them attempt to apprehend "the bad guys." We highly doubt that Mr. Müller is sweating over this ordeal, as reports say that Porsche’s official response was “Good luck with that.”
It is pretty funny on one hand, but on the other hand, Porsche will have a lot to lose if they are forced to stop their activities in India, considering it has been a growing market in the past few years.
We’re going to make some popcorn and continue to watch this circus unfold…
Finally! After a long and drawn out process, the corporate restructuring that brings full control of Porsche’s automotive side under Volkswagen’s control is approved and official. The deal sent 4.49 billion Euros and one voting share of VW stock from VW and Porsche SE to Porsche AG, the latter item being simply a concession to avoid paying a load of taxes and was left out of VW’s press release.
This officially gives Volkswagen AG 100 percent holdings in Porsche and effectively gives VW the ability to do whatever it wants with the famed sports car builder. We have already alluded to the possibility of VW overriding Porsche’s CEO and continuing on with the “Baby Boxster” project that gained notoriety lately. That possibility was given more solid ground with a statement released by VW CEO, Martin Winterkorn.
Winterkorn was quoted saying “The path is now finally clear for a bright future together. Even closer cooperation will enable us to significantly strengthen Volkswagen and Porsche, and further expand the group‘s product portfolio with fascinating new vehicles.”
You see, it is that last section about bringing new models that really drives home the possibility that VW may be about to force Porsche to build a lesser-priced version of the Boxster. We see that as making perfect business sense because if Porsche buyers can accept a sedan and a pair of SUVs, why can’t they accept a lower-priced Boxster?
Either way, congrats to both sides and we are glad to finally see this issue laid to rest.
Click past the jump to read the full press release.
Porsche’s future entry level models have been rumored to sport a new four-cylinder horizontally opposed gasoline engine, but Porsche Canada CEO, Joe Lawrence, is trying to nip that in the bid. Lawrence was recently at the ALMS race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park when he confirmed that the flat-four is definitely just a rumor.
At that point, everyone could basically let the flat four rumor go, but Lawrence immediately followed that statement up with the fact that he would actually like to see it sometime in the future. If everyone’s not on board with letting it go then the flat four cannot possibly be dead in the water, so we’re back to square one...again.
The four-cylinder horizontally opposed gasoline engine was initially rumored to be used for the upcoming baby Boxster (aka 550) which has been put on hold due to the lack of expected demand. What we see happening is new fuel economy regulations making it necessary for the four-pot to be used, even for the Baby Boxster when it gets dragged off the backburner, as well as for the Cayman. Automakers can’t make their decisions based on the market sometimes because the government forces their hand when it comes to strict environmental guidelines and as Lawrence said, "Porsche is not exempt from increasingly strict emissions and fuel economy regulations" and it’s "more likely that you’ll see more turbocharging in more vehicles moving forward." The government is, after all, the puppeteer in this stage show.
For the most part, business deals are massaged with care and come together with relative ease and little drama. We guess the Germans must do things a little differently, as the VW takeover of Porsche was anything but easy and drama-free. In fact, it was closer to the exact opposite.
Seven years ago, Porsche was sitting pretty and decided it wanted to expand, but bit off way more than it could chew when it tried to buy out Volkswagen. This attempted takeover split Porsche’s ownership group and eventually resulted in Porsche falling into extreme debt and abandoning the takeover plan.
In 2009, the script flipped and VW ended up indirectly owning 49.9 percent of Porsche and striking an agreement in 2009 to buy up the remaining 50.1 percent. That agreement turned south when VW realized that the resulting tax payments for the purchase were its responsibility. Well, after some nifty dance steps with the taxman, VW managed to avoid paying taxes on the purchase and the deal was all but complete.
Now we can finally announce that the deal is 100 percent complete, and VW is now the sole owner of Porsche AG. The total purchase deal is going to send €4.46 billion ($5.59 billion) and a single common share of VW stock to Porsche SE. Volkswagen plans to integrate Porsche into its automotive group on August 1, 2012. Porsche SE will also receive an additional €320 million ($401 million) in lost dividend payments and net synergies, due to the rapid integration of Porsche AG into VW’s ownership group – basically VW is paying off Porsche SE to gain quicker control of its automotive group.
With this, VW’s impressive automotive group grows yet again. We are starting to wonder how big Volkswagen AG can really get before it’s too big for its own good.
Click past the jump to read the full and complicated presser from VW.
A decade ago, Porsche opened up a brand new factory in Leipzig, Germany and the first vehicle to roll off of its line was a spankin’ new Cayenne. Whether by dumb luck or precision planning, the 500,000th vehicle to roll off of that same production line just happened to be a Cayenne – a white Cayenne S, to be precise.
Instead of just slapping a window sticker on it and sending it off to some random dealership to be lost forever in the shuffle of new cars, Porsche did something special. It took this brand new Cayenne S, which carries an MSRP of $65,000, wrapped it in a special red foil for the fire brigade in Leipzig, fitted it with a light bar and handed the keys over to the Leipzig’s mayor free of charge.
This vehicle is intended to act as a command vehicle for said fire brigade, and with its 4.8-liter V-8 engine that pumps out 400 ponies and 369 pound-feet of twist, we doubt that this new Porsche fire truck will have any issues being the first at any scene.
The Leipzig plant is already producing a record number of vehicles each year for Porsche, and the soon-to-be fully Volkswagen-ized sports car company is set to add another model to its workload, the Macan, which is due to start production in the Leipzig plant in 2013. In no time at all, the Leipzig plant will be hitting the 1,000,000-car mark and we are wondering how Porsche plans to celebrate that mark.
All around, this is just a classy gesture on Porsche’s part. Few automakers really understand how much their factories and the cities that house them affect their success. It’s obvious that Porsche does not have any problem recognizing the little guy.
We all know that when you buy or sell anything of significant worth, the gummament is not too far away with its hand out asking for its share. It doesn’t care which side it comes from, just as long as someone pays “The Man.” Well, when VW AG decided it was time to buyout the remaining 50.1 percent of Porsche and get its former ownership group completely out of the picture, we were talking billions of Euros, €4.5 billion to be exact.
Well, even in Germany, “The Man,” or better yet “Der Mann,” is there in the form of the Baden-Württemberg Finance Ministry asking for his cut of the deal, which would total about €1.5 billion ($1.9 million). This was just about the breaking point of the entire deal, as a part of the buyout was that VW pays the tax.
After five months of massaging the numbers, looking at the laws, and manipulating things in ways that would make a business ethics major cringe, VW and Porsche are about to pull off this deal 100 percent tax free. How they pulled this off was simple enough… The only real sticking point was the fact that VW had to find out how to manipulate the deal into a corporate restructuring, as opposed to a sale.
To achieve a restructuring classification instead of a buy-sell classification, VW gave Porsche the €4.5 billion buying price, but included in that price a single voting share of VW stock… Yeah, that’s it. One little piece of paper that says “I can vote on important issues” saved VW €1.5 billion. Gotta love those tax attorneys.
The deal has yet to be approved by state authorities, but sans any omissions or errors, this looks to be a final deal that gives VW the title to Porsche, instead of just a rental contract.
Porsche can’t seem to shake the lemons off it’s model tree. Once again the Stuttgart manufacturer has been forced to issue a recall, this time centering on 235 2011-2012 models which may have had defective seat belts installed. According to Inside Line, the models that are affected include the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 4, 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS, 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS, 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S, 2011 Porsche 911 Speedster, 2012 Porsche 911 Targa 4, 2012 Porsche 911 Targa 4S, 2012 Porsche 911 Turbo, 2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S, 2012 Porsche Boxster S, 2012 Porsche Cayman, 2012 Porsche Cayman R, and 2012Porsche Cayman S. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration points out that these defective seat belts are centered on the mounting holes in the seat belt anchor plates fitted to the vehicle being too small. If the hole diameter is too small, the anchor plate may not be able to rotate about the fastening bolt as designed. Should this occur, the seat belt may not be routed optimally around the occupant, or may potentially loosen at some point in the future increasing the risk of injury during a crash. Although this problem is serious, it is noted by the NHTSA that no deaths or injuries have resulted from these defective seat belts. Porsche also says this defect stems from a "manufacturing issue" at their seat belt supplier.
We don’t think this will affect Porsche at all. We still look at Porsche cars as the one of the finest sports car manufacturers in the world.
Back on August 20th, Top Speed reported that the headquarters of the sports car manufacturer Porsche were raided by German officials in search of specific documents that would lead to prosecution of the Stuttgart based car maker’s former Chief Executive Officer, Wendelin Wiedeking, as well as the former Chief Financial Officer, Holger Haerter, regarding possible violations of the German securities laws and manipulation of the market with regard to the recent financial dealings with the automotive conglomerate Volkswagen.
The German manufacturer has now confirmed that subsequent searches have been carried out at private residences of select lower level Porsche employees. While the automaker has not revelaed the identity of the individual, an unnamed source informed Automotive News, "The investigators found what they were looking for." Just as we previously reported, Porsche is denying any allegations of bad conduct and continues to cooperate fully with the German government’s investigation.
The German regulatory body BaFin, which is similar to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, is mounting the investigation against the former Porsche CEO and CFO for alleged market manipulation and insider trading. While the investigation focuses on individuals who no longer work with company, the proceedings should not have an adverse affect on the sports car maker’s day to ay activities, however this wave of suspicion could do a number on the much larger Volkswagen AG, who just acquired a 42% share of the sports car maker from Stuttgart.
Early this morning in the sleepy town of Stuttgart, a group of German police inspectors arrived at the Porsche headquarters in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen complete with search warrants in hand in an attempt to uncover some evidence of suspicious activity. The search order was handed down by their local public prosecutor’s office and dealt with the suspicion of breaching a publication duty as prescribed by the German Stock Corporation Act which means that they could have been manipulating the German market. The boys in blue who were on the scene were said to have seized numerous business documents by the end of their exploration.
Of course the German sports car manufacturer denies any allegations and are cooperating fully with the German officials in the hopes for a speedy resolution. Off the news that Porsche is making major moves on the financial market, recently selling 10% of their stock to a state run Quatar based investement group and only a short period of time after the Porsche/VW merger was completed, the perfect time for a world wide corporation to fudge some paperwork, not that this is the case. However now that the authorities are involved, this incident can’t help but make you think back to this past January when one of the richest men in the world, Adolf Merckle, took his own life after betting wrong in a big way on the German automotive conglomerate VW, which is now quite entangled with the sports car maker Porsche.
Press release after the jump.
Yesterday Porsche GB continued their legal action against the Mayor of London’s decision to increase the congestion charge from £8 ($16) to £25 ($50) for vehicles with CO2 emissions of over … Even residents within the congestion charge zone will see their payments jump from £0.80 ($1.60) to £25 ($50).
Porsche continued their action by pushing forward their judicial review and have asked for it to be fast tracked in the hope of a decision before the charge is imposed.
Commenting on the filing, Andy Goss, Managing Director of Porsche Cars GB, said, “Not only is this new tax on motorists unfair, it is also a disproportionate and illegal use of power by the mayor. The Porsche case is about protecting London and Londoners from a new tax that will not only fail to reduce CO2 emissions in central London, but also increase congestion and damage air quality.”
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According to Porsche, an official letter sent by TfL and Mayor Ken Livingstone revealed the fact that the request for changing the proposed introduction of a new £25 charge on some vehicles entering London has been rejected. Since the only way to convince them that they are wrong is only the Law Courts, Porsche decided to request a juridicial review.