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7 comments

Porsche’s Most Controversial Engineer

Posted January 18, 2008 3:19 PM by Steve Melito

This week, Germany's Justice Minister drafted legislation that would prevent Porsche from shuttering car factories without the consent of Volkswagen's blue-collar workforce. Although Porsche controls a 30% stake in the Volkswagen Group, Berlin may require 80% of VW shareholders to approve all major decisions which affect the Wolfsburg-based car company. Last October, Europe's highest court overturned key sections of the Volkswagen Law, a 1960 statute which was designed to protect VW from takeover. Whereas Porsche once eyed the purchase of additional shares in Volkswagen, analysts now worry that Porsche is no longer in the driver's seat.

Wendelin Wiedeking, Porsche's CEO, has threatened to slay any of VW's "sacred cows" that get in the way of his Stuttgart-based company. With state elections scheduled for the next few weeks and months, however, Wiedeking has suddenly become a target of sorts. According to The Wall Street Journal, ordinary Germans (and politicians) are bashing industry leaders such as Wiedeking in a fit of "social envy". In return for making Porsche the world's most profitable car company, the CEO was recently awarded the richest pay package in German industry, worth an estimated $85 to $100 million (USD). According to the Times Online, a British website which named Wiedeking its businessman of the year for 2007, "the astonishing success of Porsche is entirely down to him".

The holder of a doctorate in engineering from Rhenish-Westphalian Technical University (RWTH), Wiedeking makes an easy target. Known as "the Rambo of the Germany motor industry", he may be heard muttering his trademark phrase – "you had better take care" – in the tones of professional assassin. "I hardly know of any boardroom executive who likes him," whispers a senior manager at a rival company. Nevertheless, the CEO whom Der Spiegel once labeled "The Baron" may be more than just a Machiavellian prince. According to the Times Online, Wiedeking is genuinely concerned that "without the car industry as the biggest single employer in the country, Germany would . . . become a zoological garden for visitors from the Far East." And as Porsche's CEO warned a group of high school graduates last year, "The shortage of engineers (in Germany) is putting our ability to compete at risk".

Resources:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120026702330087133.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/movers_and_shakers/article3107376.ece

http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?type=motoringSummary&storyID=2008-01-18T094539Z_01_CAS835110_RTRUKOC_0_VOLKSWAGEN-LAW.xml

http://www.autoblog.com/2007/03/09/porsche-ceo-concerned-about-shortage-of-engineers/

http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?type=motoringSummary&storyID=2008-01-18T094539Z_01_CAS835110_RTRUKOC_0_VOLKSWAGEN-LAW.xml

http://www.motortrend.com/features/auto_news/2007/112_070214news_porsche_volkswagen_takeover

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2007/12/31/2003395065

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendelin_Wiedeking

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Guru

Join Date: Sep 2007
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#1

Re: Porsche’s Most Controversial Engineer

01/19/2008 6:03 AM

Mr Wiedeking, however unlikable he may be, seems to have a head for business and economy. His ideas make the product wanted by the people and therefor they sell. His product is right up there amidst the big hitters so we know they also work well. Their design is always trendsetting and other makes want to copy them.

So why is it that "everybody" is after him?

Seems to me that yet another government has its head firmly where the crap should come out and if not careful, they will fuck things up well and proper in the same way engineering has been degraded over here in Britain. Great Britain once had the world's engineering in its pocket. Now they will not even allow the word Great any more as it is deemed derogatory for others "not so great".

Germany, with all its faults, has been an economic power after the last war. I realise that most of that is due to our help with rebuilding their industry and why we don't have the money to do our own infrastructure, but it is not good sport to hold that against the modern Germans. This guy sounds like somebody I would vote in government rather than the spineless twats that are there now.

If I had the money I would own a Porsche. Now be honest!

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Anonymous Poster
#2
In reply to #1

Re: Porsche’s Most Controversial Engineer

01/19/2008 10:54 AM

Having purchased a new MGB many years ago (and then almost having to to sue Leland to get them to make the car drivable) I can understand why you would want a Porsche. Personally, I purchased a new Datsun 240Z as my next sports car after being guided to it by a senior engineer that owned a new Porsche. Better than either one.

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Anonymous Poster
#3

Re: Porsche’s Most Controversial Engineer

01/19/2008 11:44 AM

"Wiedeking is genuinely concerned that "without the car industry as the biggest single employer in the country, Germany would . . . become a zoological garden for visitors from the Far East." "

-----and so could Detroit.

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Guru

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Porsche’s Most Controversial Engineer

01/19/2008 1:03 PM

Datsun

I feel almost sorry for you, have you no principles left?

I rather walk myself.

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Porsche’s Most Controversial Engineer

01/20/2008 11:58 AM

Unfortunately, Detroit isn't remotely attractive, let alone from a zoological perspective, so it's not even an option.

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: Porsche’s Most Controversial Engineer

01/30/2008 9:30 PM

I don't understand that comment. Is it because it's a Japanese car? In the late 60's/ early 70's Datsun had a few cars that were revolutionary. The aforementioned 240Z made the sports car world sit up and take notice. Here was a sports car that was easily attainable by most people, yet it would out perform cars 2, 3 and even 4 times it's cost! The Datsun 510 is another one. $1995.00 of the showroom floor, yet when put on the track against the BMW's and Alfa Romeos that cost upwards of $6k, it blew their doors off!

Guest's comments ring true to me. As an owner of several different Datsun models through the years, mostly 510's, the group of owners that consistantly give the most respect is Porsche owners. Just go to an open track day put on by the SCCA, and you'll be amazed at what those boxy little sedans can do. It's quite a sight to see a 510 eat up a 911 in the twistys!

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#7
In reply to #1

Re: Porsche’s Most Controversial Engineer

08/01/2008 9:55 AM

In the end, nobody likes a ASS_#*%&. No matter how good you may be, people and politics will beet him down.

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