Ferdinand Piech, who brought Porsche to Volkswagen, dies at 82

first_imgFerdinand Piech, the former chairman and chief executive officer who transformed Volkswagen into one of the world’s biggest carmakers and added Porsche to its holdings, has died. He was 82. He died Sunday at a hospital in Bavaria, Germany, according to Bild newspaper.The Vienna-born grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, who founded the manufacturer of the 911 sports car, became Volkswagen’s CEO in 1993, when the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company was mired in losses. He had five children with his first wife, the former Corina von Planta; two from his relationship with Marlene Porsche, the former wife of his cousin Gerhard Porsche; three with Ursula Piech; and two other children. SHARE STORY Plagued with quality problems and high costs, Volkswagen became profitable, producing better vehicles without large-scale job cuts, while Piech won the allegiance of unions and shareholders alike. He continued to guide strategy after becoming supervisory board chairman in 2002, but his crowning achievement at VW was the acquisition of the Porsche auto brand in 2012. COMMENTSSHARE YOUR THOUGHTS PlayThe Rolls-Royce Boat Tail may be the most expensive new car everPlay3 common new car problems (and how to prevent them) | Maintenance Advice | Driving.caPlayFinal 5 Minivan Contenders | Driving.caPlay2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge | Ministry of Interior Affairs | Driving.caPlayThe 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning is a new take on Canada’s fave truck | Driving.caPlayBuying a used Toyota Tundra? Check these 5 things first | Used Truck Advice | Driving.caPlayCanada’s most efficient trucks in 2021 | Driving.caPlay3 ways to make night driving safer and more comfortable | Advice | Driving.caPlayDriving into the Future: Sustainability and Innovation in tomorrow’s cars | Driving.ca virtual panelPlayThese spy shots get us an early glimpse of some future models | Driving.ca RELATED TAGSVolkswagenNon-LuxuryNew VehiclesNon-Luxury His obsession with cars — and the desire to make the best possible ones, regardless of price — also cost VW a lot of money. With the flopped Phaeton sedan, the Bugatti Veyron supercar and Audi’s A2 hatchback, the Volkswagen group accounts for three out of the 10 biggest money-losers in modern automotive history, according to estimates from Max Warburton, an analyst for Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. That’s the worst track record in the industry.Enjoying a cult-like following within the company, Piech often got his way when he lost confidence in managers, forcing out a series of executives, including his hand-picked successor as CEO, Bernd Pischetsrieder, in 2006. The supervisory board’s leadership committee surprisingly defied him in April 2015 by saying it would vote to extend Martin Winterkorn’s contract as CEO, against Piech’s wishes. Piech resigned as chairman later that month.“If I want to achieve something, I approach the problem and push it through without realizing what’s happening around me,” he wrote in his 2002 autobiography. “My desire for harmony is limited.”RELATEDcenter_img The Rolls-Royce Boat Tail may be the most expensive new car ever We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles using Facebook commenting Visit our FAQ page for more information. Trending Videos See More Videos Under Piech, Volkswagen pushed into high-end autos with the purchase of the Bentley and Bugatti nameplates. At the same time, he tightened VW’s integration of the mass-market Seat and Skoda brands. By the end of 2012, Volkswagen either owned outright or held controlling stakes in 12 vehicle brands, including supercar producer Lamborghini, heavy-truck makers MAN and Scania and motorcycle maker Ducati. The untold plight of Porsche’s forgotten founderPiech came from a technical background, having studied engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. In 1963, Piech went to work for his uncle Ferry at Porsche in Stuttgart, where he later became a technical manager.Piech joined Volkswagen in 1972, when he moved to Audi from Porsche after the family decided to end its active role in the sports-car maker’s operations. At Audi, he pushed the development of the Quattro all-wheel-drive system, helping establish the brand as an innovator and enabling it to overtake Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz in global luxury-car sales in 2011. last_img

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