Greenpeace staged a protest (what a surprise) outside Porsche's Zuffenhausen plant today, carrying on about how the company's vehicles are "Climate Pigs," complete with a pink Cayenne Turbo dressed up in pig ears and a porker's nose. (We wonder, did the Greenpeaceniks drive their Porcine Cayenne to the protest? Because if they did, helloooo hypocrisy.) The argument is nothing new, with the organization upset because Porsche is (in their eyes) an enemy of Gaia. You see, it has the temerity to build thrilling cars that aren't ultralights in terms of consumption. Greenpeace must be on tour through Germany this week, as they pulled the same stunt at BMW on Monday. Porsche welcomed the protesters with the snarky banner shown above.

Follow the jump for more info and commentary.

[Sources: Greenpeace, Porsche]
Related GalleryPorsche Welcomes Greenpeace



It wasn't the only banner, either. One detailed facts that inconveniently countered the Greenpeace rhetoric. That one, entitled "Good To Know," included the following bullet points:
  • "Porsche's contribution to CO2 emissions in traffic less than 0.1 per cent. "
  • "Porsche has the lowest CO2 emissions per horsepower."
  • "Porsche will reduce CO2 emissions by more than 20 per cent by the year 2012."
  • "Porsche is introducing the hybrid engine: less than 9 litres fuel consumption on 100 km."
Greenpeace replied by saying that Porsche's CO2 levels are still too high, and that the weight of the automaker's vehicles is such that their very existence encourages consumption. This is the angle the organization used to pooh-pooh the forthcoming Porsche Hybrids, saying that the technology used will continue to add weight and thus encourage consumption, despite the "green" nature of the powertrain itself. Porsche is going in the "wrong direction" according to the environmentalist group.

Greenpeace's ax to grind with Porsche stems from the automaker's opposition to a flat European CO2 emissions limit applying to all cars from all manufacturers. Porsche's argument is that since it builds luxury performance vehicles that incorporate numerous technology, safety and comfort features, it is impossible (and in our view, ridiculous and unfair) to compare them to the compact and subcompact cars that would obviously be favored by such legislation. Porsche instead advocates a tiered system that sets aggressive limits on a per-vehicle-class basis, which would take additional factors into account.

Frankly, when it comes to innovations designed to reduce fuel consumption and vehicle emissions, we have a lot more faith in the engineers at an automaker like Porsche, which just gave us a 530-horsepower, 200 mph sports car capable of almost 19 mpg in the New European Driving Cycle, than a bunch of protest goons looking for camera time.

Porsche's parting shot at Greenpeace was contained in a final banner that read, "Dear Friends from Greenpeace: Porsche is Better than You Think. But the Good News is that David taking on Goliath was Underestimated, too . . ."

You can read Greenpeace's account of the protest at their German site here. (Click here for English translation.)

Porsche's press release follows below:

PRESS RELEASE:

Premiere of a Special Kind for the First Time in Zuffenhausen
Porsche Welcomes Greenpeace "Climate Pigs" with its Own Posters

Stuttgart. For the first time in the history of the company now going back almost 60 years, Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG in Stuttgart received a visit today from Greenpeace. The company took the opportunity to welcome the environmental organisation with a big poster proudly stating "Done It! Greenpeace Demonstration at Porsche. Now We Have Really Made It!" rolled out at the entrance to Porsche's Home Plant in Zuffenhausen as a particularly warm sign of appreciation.

Greenpeace accused the company of building cars they claimed to be "climate pigs". Porsche vehemently rejected this accusation and informed the activists that less than 12 per cent of all exhaust emissions in Germany come from passenger cars, with Porsche's share therein being less than one-tenth of 1 per cent. Power stations alone, for example, account for 43 per cent, industry accounts for 16 per cent, and private households 14 per cent. Porsche presented its counter-arguments on a second large poster bearing the headline "Good to Know" followed by impressive facts and figures:

"Porsche's contribution to CO2 emissions in traffic less than 0.1 per cent. "
"Porsche has the lowest CO2 emissions per horsepower."
"Porsche will reduce CO2 emissions by more than 20 per cent by the year 2012."
"Porsche is introducing the hybrid engine: less than 9 litres fuel consumption on 100 km."

To refer to Porsche as a "climate pig", given these facts, is not only inappropriate, but also malicious and a clear sign of bad intent. All the more so as Porsche has emphasised time and again that the CO2 emissions of all Porsche cars are reduced by 1.7 per cent each year. This is an improvement only few other manufacturers are able to match. A further point is that Porsche sports cars are already able today to run on up to 10 per cent bio-fuel (ethanol), ensuring a further improvement of the CO2 balance amounting to the same figure. And the new Cayenne is even able to run on up to 25 per cent ethanol.

A further significant point is that by the end of this decade Porsche will be offering a hybrid version of the Cayenne. And the objective in this case, in terms of fuel consumption, is to have an "8" before the decimal point – that is less than 9.0 litres fuel consumption on 100 kilometres – or better than 31.4 mpg imp. Porsche's fourth model series, finally, the Panamera Gran Turismo scheduled to enter the market in 2009, will likewise be available with a hybrid power unit.

Porsche also told the Greenpeace activists that they build premium class cars offering technical features, motoring comfort and safety of the very highest standard, making it impossible to compare a Porsche with a small compact car. Precisely for this reason, the Stuttgart manufacturer is opposed to a common CO2 limit applicable to the car fleets of all car makers in general. Instead, Porsche advocates CO2 emission standards oriented towards individual market segments or categories of cars – with such standards by all means being ambitious and demanding.

Concluding the demonstration, Porsche could not resist the temptation to unroll a third large poster stating: "Dear Friends from Greenpeace: Porsche is Better than You Think. But the Good News is that David taking on Goliath was Underestimated, too . . .".