• Sep 15th 2008 at 8:02AM
  • 13
For the past 15 years Ferdinand Piech has been the guiding force behind Volkswagen, first as CEO and Chairman, and since his mandatory retirement in 2002, as Chairman of the Supervisory Board. Before that he headed Audi and helped to cultivate the four-ringed brand's engineering reputation. However, the Piech era may be drawing to a close as the Porsche takeover of VW looks set to break out into intra-family warfare. While Porsche is public company, much of the voting control is held by members of the Porsche and Piech families, the children and grandchildren of founder Ferry Porsche. While little has been said publicly about what is going on in the boardroom at Porsche and the companies reasons for taking control of VW, Piech has been in the peculiar position, being on both sides of the takeover battle. Earlier this year there were reports that Piech was trying to oust Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking in order to maintain control of VW. It now appears that Piech's own family may have had enough of his control, and cousin Wolfgang Porsche is reportedly preparing to push him out. Piech apparently stayed away from a board meeting on Friday to avoid voting with or against his family on the issue of Porsche cooperating with Audi. The family is apparently incensed at Piech's behavior and want him dismissed.
[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's a bit polarizing to see the mega-company that is Porsche & VW along with their twisting list of divisions and sub-brands. It's also sad to see such in-fighting as changing interests tend to lead to bad corporate decisions which end up hurting the overall business(es) down the road.

      Does anybody know what's the cause of the Porsche family conflict? It is just about who controls the companies?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Personall I really like his "madness" for ordering the likes of Veyron and to some extent the Phaeton and even the Scirocco, not really to make a lot of money, but rather because he wants VW Group to make desirable and awesome cars (yes, I like the Phaeton, a lot)
        • 7 Years Ago
        True. But I think VW really needs to concentrate on lower priced vehicles...at least here in America. And vehicles that get better mileage (think Rabbit with that craptastic five cylinder).

        Leave the more expensive vehicles to Audi and such.

        But as someone above said, there are too many overlapping products.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The seeds of this conflict were planted around 40 years ago. A real life family drama!
      • 7 Years Ago
      "The family is apparently incensed at Piech's behavior and want him dismissed. "--------------What did he do?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Piech si a megalomaniac, Lambo, Bugatti, Audi's "supercars", Phaeton, "sports" VWs...

        The point is that VW is acting like a huge cannibal, depening on market, Seats eat Skodas and vice versa, they both eat VW branded models, VW eats them, component sharing went too far to give feel of exlusivity to Audi compared to VW or even Skodas.

        VW buys Bentley then builds a Phaeton (it's essentially one of the smaller Bentleys), Audi buys Lambo than produces its own "supercar". At the same time, these cars clearly target Porsche's territory.

        At the same time, VW quality hasn't improved, Audi is outright substandard not just by premium segment levels. VW group has only 2 cars in the European top 20 of reliability (made by German TUV). Mazda has 5 cars there, two Fords are Mazda based. ( http://news.auto.cz/aktuality/auto-bild-tuev-report-2008-vozy-stari-2-3-roky-lidove-mazdy-momentalne-vladnou.html , http://www.tuvamerica.com/tuvnews/hotnews/pressdetail.cfm?id=1391)

        This is essentially a British Leyland minus strikes plus bits of technology.

        Retail prices, in Europe at least, are inflated. VW sales are globaly up due to new emerging markets, but the EU best seller is Opel Astra. Not Golf. To sum up, too much of resources is spent on useless cars that compete with Porsches and not on passengers cars that matter in the long run in financially volatile times.
        • 7 Years Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      its hard to feel sorry for someone who has a bajillion dollars
      • 7 Years Ago
      There is so much more going on behind the scenes than we know, so it is difficult to respond to this story without knowing more of the facts.

      What we do know is that, yes, Piech is a genius engineer and a total control freak. But under his guidance, Volkswagen has emerged as a true rival to Toyota for global Car Industry leadership, so I find some of the responses to this story a bit off.

      Volkswagen and Porsche would fit very well together. But Audi has proved to be a brand that cannibalizes the sales of both without providing suitable compensation in terms of price premium. VW's platform development strategy could easily benefit Porsche while overall economies of scale. It is strange that using the Phaeton platform VW sells considerable more Bentleys than it does Phaetons and at a much higher price. If this works for the British brand then it is a strategy that can work for Porsche, think Panamera, Cayenne and 911.

      With the market rapidly moving away from gas guzzlers towards more compact and frugal cars, Porsche needs to act now to protect itself. it would surprise me if Audi was floated as a separate company from the Group after Porsche acquires full control.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Today on Jerry Springheimer: German billionaire families and their public bouts of drama and control
        • 7 Years Ago
        "Jerry Springheimer"

        Good stuff, made me laugh, thank you.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Well, bust out the moonshine and corn squeezin's, it's the German version of the Hatfields and McCoys!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wasn't Peach the one behind all this soap opera?
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