• Mar 25, 2008
Porsche's forthcoming majority stake in Volkswagen has the potential to remove a CAFE-sized thorn from the automaker's side. After a failed bid in Congress to create an exemption for itself from the recently revised fuel economy standards, Porsche needed a way to increase its CAFE rating in the U.S. This might be achieved by combining Porsche and VW's emissions and fuel-economy numbers into one lump sum, thus preserving the automaker's performance heritage.

While this certainly isn't anything new – Ford does it with Mazda, despite a minority stake in the automaker, and Chrysler has done it in the past when it was part owner of Mitsubishi – Volkswagen's average in 2007 was 28.6 mpg, just over the U.S. mandated 27.5 mpg. If Porsche gets thrown into that average, it's obvious that number is going to sink, quickly. However, Volkswagen's plan for the future involves new smaller, fuel-sipping vehicles, like the up! and more diesel-powered vehicles that might bring the number back up, but maybe not enough to meet the 2020 standards of 35 mpg. Porsche execs deny that this was a deciding factor in the buyout, but considering that the gentlemen from Stuttgart have cut a few checks to the feds over the years ($5 million in 2001), we're sure the idea wasn't lost on them while making their bid.

[Source: Autoweek]


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  • 13 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm not sure how negatively Porsche would affect VW's CAFE score. The number of Porsches sold each year in the US is probably less than VW does in a month. There will be a small change, but probably not that much.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've been saying this all along: this is a key driver of the Porsche/VW merger. Porsches are WILDLY profitable. It's worth the trouble to pair them up with VW so they can keep selling.

      Look for more smaller V-dubs, too. As needed, of course.
      • 6 Years Ago
      28.6 mpg, is that just VW? If Porsche gets in on the act, what about Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, and Bugatti? They don't sell in very high volumes (especially those last 3) but they also get dismal ratings when it comes to portioning out the dino juice (or in their case, dyno juice). Comparatively, a Porsche flat 6 is quite fuel efficient. Their biggest offender, ironically, the Cayenne, is the only thing shared with VW in their Toureg.

      A co-developed DI turbo 4 cylinder for Porsche/VW would be sweet. VW pretty much has this already, but with Porsche's talent for wrangling every last horse out of an engine, that could make for some very sweet entry-level bahn-burners from Stuttgart. Not a bad option for top level VWs either instead of the weighty VR6 AWD setups. Here's hoping.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Eric,
        Bugatti, Bentley and Lamborghini will not count in the CAFE act. They do not even sell enough vehicles to have a reliability rating or a crash test rating. Audi could easily get to CAFE standards because they offer small, turbo charged engines. :)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Audi does have a number of more fuel efficient models sold overseas, but I don't know if those would be enough. Audis still are not that light, especially with AWD, and go all the way up to the S8 sedan and R8 supercar. Anyway, check out their current EPA ratings here:

        http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/bymake/Audi2008.shtml

        Now if you take their MOST fuel efficient vehicle (by far), you get:

        Audi TT 2.0t 6-speed manual

        2008 EPA:
        23/31

        2007 EPA:
        26/34

        1984 EPA=CAFE:
        28.6/41.48

        Avg. (55%/45%) = 34.396mpg

        That means that even their most efficient vehicle will fail to meet the 35mpg average that ALL their vehicles must average out to meet by 2020. If you take their 2nd most efficient vehicle (and a more common one at that) the picture gets worse:

        Audi A4 2.0t 6-speed manual

        2008:
        20/31

        2007:
        23/34

        1984:
        25.3/41.48

        Avg. = 32.581mpg

        I would hardly call that easy.


        I do still wonder about the logic of brands wholly owned by a company being exempt simply because of the label applied to them. It's one thing if they are really independent, but this seems like a loophole if it's true. What's to stop Hummer from being classified on it's own, with each model broken down into sub brands to get around the limits? I'm not saying I agree with the coming CAFE standards, but they should at least be consistent.
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