Last post on Jan 28, 2013 at 5:55 PM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ-Series, Lexus LS 460, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Volkswagen Phaeton, Maserati Quattroporte, Mercedes-Benz CL-Class, Sedan
Let's try to define this forum as being limited to luxury performance vehicles where the mainstream version in a typical configuration has an MSRP of at least $60k.
A luxury vehicle with a base price of $59k qualifies because it would typically be bought with some additional equipment, bringing the MSRP over $60k.
Vehicles like the E, 5, A6, M, or GS, even if available in certain versions over $60k, don't qualify because they are cars from companies that have higher end cars in their lineups.
Apr 08, 2006 (9:59 am)
About seven months ago as we recall, Porsche announced what was perceived by some to be reckless or at least curious plans to buy an approximate 20% stake in Volkswagen. At the time, plenty of people were scratching their heads wondering what kind of sense it made. The general consensus in the forums was that it made no sense at all. Afterall, VW is teetering and Porsche has never been healthier. There is an interesting article in the April issue of Excellence magazine entitled “A Family Affair” that seems to provide some clarity, and it appears to have insight that has not appeared in any other media talk on the subject.
The Porsche-VW relationship is long and convoluted. It is a saga that has familial, emotional, historical and financial implications. Its roots are deep. An interesting part of the plot is the Snidely Whiplash role that Mercedes plays in the eyes of Porsche royalty, which started with the firing of progenitor Ferdinand Porsche from Daimler-Benz in the 1920s, and extends right up to today with Porsche’s 20% stake in VW as partly a move to keep Daimler-Chrysler from keeping its mitts off VW.
Dr. Porsche’s grandson Ferdinand Piech of VW fame emerges not only as the key player, but a kingpin who has the full support of the dozens of Porsche’s and Piechs who have a controlling interest in Porsche, in spite of Piech being portrayed by the press as somewhat of a buffoon thanks to Phaeton and the follies of VW, and perhaps a megalomaniac when ventures such as Phaeton and Veyron are considered.
As far as Porsche’s financial interest, consider this. Porsche Holding, a company also owned by the Porsche’s and Piechs, is the distributor for Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche. With VW as Germany’s largest car company and Porsche the most profitable, the revenue is considerable, so just add 2 and 2.
And when you consider the role the German government plays as an 18% owner of VW it becomes clearer still. As VW flounders, the government does not want to make job cuts that are deemed necessary by common-sense business practices. There are efforts to repeal Germany’s maximum 20% ownership rule because it is considered restraint of trade by the EU. If this happens as expected, and the government divests it interests, the Porsche/Peich family wants to protect the mutually beneficial arrangements that have been forged between VW and Porsche from takeover predators among other things.
Among other things. The grudge against Mercedes.
The Porsche-Peich descendants never forgot the supposedly unwarranted jilting the family patriarch Dr. Porsche received at the hands of Daimler-Benz. Plus, DB attempted to banish him in such a way as to prevent him from being recruited by competitors—sordid to say the least. Although this was long ago it seems Porsche will be vigilant and vengeful for quite some time. Include VW in there because Dr. Porsche is at the very heart and soul of VW. Not only did he design the original beetle, but he and Anton Peich, who married his daughter Louise and is Ferdinand Peich’s father, managed VW during the war. And for 25 years after the war, Porsche acted as VW’s engineering office. It is also said that VW covertly funded some major Porsche racing programs later on.
Anyway, in the last half of the 20th Century Daimler-Benz assigned design contracts to Porsche engineering/consulting. It is suggested that this was an effort on Daimler Benz’s part to kiss and make up. The following is an anecdote from the article which I find to be hilarious. Not only does Porsche seem to defy business acumen, it says what kind of neighbors share a fence in Stuttgart. I think it speaks volumes about the disdain and mistrust the Porsche family has for Mercedes, and how it is rooted in their psyche:
“Early in the 1990s, when Porsche had capacity to spare, Mercedes asked it to engineer and produce the fast 500E as a gesture it hoped would be interpreted as friendly. In the mid-1990s, Daimler-Benz came close to forging an alliance with Porsche. Both had decided to build SUVs and there seemed good reason for them to cooperate in their design and manufacture. Toward the end of 1996, the deal was on track for signing. There would be a Porsche version of the coming M-Class, with the two companies sharing the overall engineering costs and certain components.
The parties sat for a final discussion. Across the table from the Porsche contingent, said Porsche boss Wendelin Wiedeking, ‘someone on the board said they would want a small piece of the company.’ This was as a red flag to a bull. Wiedeking knew that the Porsches and Piechs would never entertain such an idea.. ‘I’m not spending a second to discuss this.’ rejoined the Porsche chief. ‘Let’s close the books on this right now.’ The other party was dumbfounded that Wiedeking wouldn’t even talk about the idea of a Mercedes shareholding in Porsche, but for the Porsche man ‘even one share would be too much. I didn’t even speak to the shareholders about it.’ He knew they wouldn’t tolerate even a chink that might give Daimler-Benz access to ownership in Porsche.”
Wow, it seems Porsche knows how to spit into the wind. And to add some perspective you have to consider that they gave DB the finger at a precarious time, when a jump start was needed and the Boxster was yet to be released. I guess you can’t help but wonder what would have become of that MB/Porsche SUV, not that it matters because Cayenne was extremely successful regardless. Is it possible the jilt was planned all along and that Porsche actually went in with a chip on its shoulder? Nah, these are sober, serious business people, right? Gotta wonder.
Needless to say, Porsche interest in VW is rock-solid, genetic, has plenty of financial implications that were already in place for some time, and seems determined to exclude Daimler-Chrysler as a suitor. What will happen to VW, Europe’s largest car maker? Who knows, but the Porsche/Peich family seems to think it is a good investment. Hmm, I guess none of them participate in these forums.
One thing seems sure. Sink or swim, Porsche and VW are attached at the hip. Blood is thick and apparently none is thicker than that of Ferdinand Piech, a veteran auto exec/engineer who is chairman of VW’s supervisory board and also a member of Porsche’s supervisory board, the man who gave us Phaeton and Veyron, the man who masterminded the stock purchase and, perhaps most importantly, the most influential family descendant in a bloodline that sits at or near the top of Germany’s automotive royalty.
#14595 of 24726 Re: The P Connection [designman]
Apr 08, 2006 (2:23 pm)
#14596 of 24726 Re: The P Connection [designman]
Apr 08, 2006 (3:45 pm)
Thanks, designman, for taking the time to write this and adding to my understanding of the business side of the auto industry. If this keeps up, I can cancel all my magazine subscriptions and just spend all my free time reading Edmunds forums.
#14597 of 24726 Re: Thanks all [pat]
Apr 08, 2006 (3:50 pm)
Pat has precious little hair to lose - keeping that in mind would be mucho appreciated.
OMG, do we finally have an answer to the "Pat, The Androgenous Host" question?
#14598 of 24726 Re: Back to HELM [oac]
Apr 08, 2006 (4:10 pm)
Welcome back, oac! I'm glad to see your "permanent" leave-taking turned out not to be so permanent.
As you will see, I don't think too many of us have changed our minds or biases over the past few months, but I think we have been doing a much better job of finding ways to disagree without being disagreeable - even with the recent discussion of the word "Loser".
#14599 of 24726 Re: Back to HELM [garyh1]
Apr 08, 2006 (8:31 pm)
we have been doing a much better job of finding ways to disagree without being disagreeable - even with the recent discussion of the word "Loser".
garyh1 is definately right about that! Welcome back, oac. I guess it's true . . . never say never.
oac - If you've read the posts, you know I'm guilty as charged for injecting the word "loser" . . . but honestly, I never thought it would go that far. In the end though, a lot of good dialogue came out of it, so I feel redeemed. After all, as you well know, things could have gone a lot worse. As I think about it, most of the guys were actually darned nice about it . . . they could have really grilled me on it, but they never did. And as amazing as it sounds, Pat only had to step in one time as I recall, and it may have been about something else anyway.
Look forward to your spirited contributions!
designman - that was a nice piece about the Porsche & VW relationship . . . very cool.
Apr 09, 2006 (5:01 am)
Well, I picked up the 2002 RL yesterday. It reminds me a lot of the 93 Legend that served me well for 4 years. This is a very nice car but not, imo, a true luxury sedan when compared to the benchmark Lexus. I expect it to do all I ask for the next few years. I will let everyone know if there are any surprises, good or bad.
#14601 of 24726 Re: BlkHemi, Two Tings! [drfill]
Apr 09, 2006 (6:56 am)
"That kinda does for the Audi line"
I find that sticking a "loser" badge on the ENTIRE Audi line is just flat-out blasphemy. Take the A4, a great car with some class leading technology and available AWD, long before any carmaker in this field decided to start this. In fact, it has been quoted several times that Audi is the force behind carmakers offering AWD in the mid/high luxury car field. The FSi engines and DSG transmissions are years ahead of other direct injection and sequential shift(ie: BMW SMG, Maserati/Ferrari's F1, with there abrupt shift quality ) transmission.
So in order to slap a "loser" sticker on a car, one would know what it takes to eventually become a loser. A car's merit shouldn't be based on how many we see on the road on a daily basis, but how well the car delivers on the promise told. And my A8 more than delivers.
No other carmaker in the biz(Maybach, Bentley, RR, and Maser with-holding) delivers the craftsmanship and build quality of Audi, yes not even Lexus. It's this impeccable finish that drags me and 5500 other U.S. "losers" a year to buy an Audi A8. The car is such a loser, yet in fact, it remains on the best pick lists of many publications and European journals.
Yes there are other very interesting entries in this arena. I for one am in love with the S550, not so much so with the upcoming still-conservative LS460, altho it too will bring new technology and a first-ever LWB variant.
But when Mercedes first released pictures of the S550, people were quick to gawk in horror that they screwed up the world's premiere luxury car. But when it hit the streets and auto shows, the gawks turned into ooooosss and ahhhhhs, even more quickly. Is this car still a loser, or just because it's a Merc and will sell well, we can some how miraculously forgive it and put it in the winners circle??????
#14603 of 24726 designman treatise on the P connection
Apr 09, 2006 (10:48 am)
At least someone who is truly informed
giving an education to those who would
like to expand their mental data base instead of indulging in personal likes and dislikes and uninformed comment.
Piech is an engineering and financial genius. The Phaeton engineering platform and factory capabilities in Dresden will provide the new genetic code for all vehicles on which Piech has influence. It provides VW with a "halo car" and enables him to upmarket all other VW products. He also gets to sell a ton of Phaetons as Bentley GT's and four door Flying Spurs to those who must wear their designer labels, not the inside, but the outside of their clothing. The Brits refer to the "New" Bentleys as "a Phaeton in a hand made suit". Pretty clever for the much maligned Dr. Piech.
By the way, if I recall, it was Piech who created the AWD revolution with the Quattro when at Audi in the 1980's.