By on February 24, 2010

When we reported a few days ago that Porsche would have serious trouble complying with the upcoming CAFE rules, and that the existence of Porsches on American roads may be in danger after 2016, the majority of the commentariat exploded: “Unbelievable!”

Most would not believe that an aptly named 911 could be as extinct in America as the Brown Bear in the Netherlands, or as endangered as the South China Tiger in South China. The invectives thrown our way ranged from “lazy” to “Drudge-like.” Devout believers in capitalism expressed their trust that loaded owners of said vehicles would simply not allow such a law to come into effect, the arsenal of democracy be damned.

Gentlepersons, I hate to bring this to you, but Porsche, the company that makes said vehicles, doesn’t share your trust that all is well and that there are no grounds to be alarmed.

A spokesperson of Porsche confirmed the report that had first appeared in Financial Times (a rather un-gearheaded publication, which would usually be suspect of wishing pox and pestilence upon Porsche for separating FT’s hedgefund-owning readership from their hard-earned money.)

“We are approaching the problem on a political and a technical level” said a Porsche spokesperson to Das Autohaus. Politically, Porsche is trying to get an extension of the special dispensation they already have. That depends on the whims and mercy of the administrators in the U.S.A.

If they fail to get the exemption, Porsche “would need to reach an average fleet consumption of 41.4 mpg,” writes das Autohaus. Porsche will move heaven and hell to get there, including a hybrid slot car, says the Porsche mouthpiece. But the pinnacle of Austro-German engineering doubts that they ever will get there all the way.

Even if heaven and hell are being successfully dislocated, Porsche thinks that at best they “may fulfill the new norms by 80, maybe 90 percent,” when 2016 comes around. Close enough for government work, but not good enough for a foreign import.

If Porsche won’t clear the awfully high hurdle without tripping, penalties of up to $37,500 per car will be due. We repeat: Per car. The MSRP of a basic Boxster would climb from $47,600 to $85,100 – that’s more than a base 911 sets you back these days. The government has no compunction to collect, as the Cummins case confirms. Cummins was fined $2.1m for failure to come up with proper documentation that 405 of their diesels were fitted with the prescribed emission-control systems.

Germany’s Focus Magazine explains: “The new law says that size determines the allowable mileage of a car. A car with a bigger footprint has wider parameters than a small car. This rule favors US manufacturers, who are heavy on pick-ups. Porsche is hit hard. A sports car manufacturer has to contend with an unfavorable relationship between size and consumption.”

Germany’s Börsen-Zeitung: “In the worst case, this could be the end of Porsche in the U.S. – Porsche hopes they can avoid the worst.”

Still think it can’t be true? Don’t complain here. Ask Porsche. Or write to your congressman. If you think foreign sports cars are the work of the antichrist, then continue claiming that all is well. It’s a free country after all. But it will be an awfully expensive country for Porschephiles.

PS: Even Autopsies headlines: “Are The Feds Plotting To Take Away Your Sports Car?” But it turns out, they simply purloined the story from us. “Completely IRRELEVENT!” protests their reader cdoke.

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70 Comments on “Obama Will Take Away Your Porsche, Take Two...”

  • avatar

    Protectionism is all the rage these days.

    • 0 avatar

      Protectionism usually deals with protecting the domestic apple against the imported one.

      If Porsche is the “There is No Substitute” car company, then, there is no domestic apple to be protected.

      (I suspect that when cross-shopping against this imported apple, buyers look at a variety of imported oranges.)

    • 0 avatar

      Protectionism usually deals with protecting the domestic apple against the imported one.

      If Porsche is the “There is No Substitute” car company, then, there is no domestic apple to be protected.

      (I suspect that when cross-shopping against this imported apple, buyers look at a variety of imported oranges.) Or Lemons you can say…

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      This has nothing to do with protectionism. Porsche’s simples path to either compliance or to minimizing the fine is to shuffle the legal papers such that Porsche and VW get counted together as one car company. They have already effectively merged, so that isn’t a big problem.

      For a long time now the high end Euro imports have been missing their existing CAFE requirements. Instead of fixing that problem, they simply pay the fine and pass the cost on to the customer.

      Porsches are not going to disappear from the US market place, no matter how many sensationalist stories are whipped about by car blogs desperate for page views.

    • 0 avatar
      Martin Schwoerer

      And the Chinaman will take away your Facebook. Oh sorry, Chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature. The Government of the People’s Republic of China.

  • avatar

    I don’t get it. Does the CAFE apply to brands or to Corporate averages? Wasn’t Porsche absorbed into the VW mothership? If VW sells a bunch of bluemotion and hybrid Polos, won’t that offset the limited amount of 911s on the road?

    If not, the rich will be able to spend their money on upgrading and maintaining “Classic” 911s. I can see companies making new ones out of old chassises.

    • 0 avatar
      Cammy Corrigan

      Bluemotion cars are diesels which aren’t sold in the US. So, I don’t think it would count in CAFE regulations for the US market.

    • 0 avatar

      You need to read the previous article. Porsche isn’t part of VW yet, and even if it would, it would have to be been a part of VW in 2009 to qualify.

      Awfully sorry!!!

    • 0 avatar

      There still may be a trick they could pull to include them with Volkswagen. All they have to do is ship Porsches to Porsche USA as VW Models. For the US, the manufacturer plate on the door sill, the VIN, the MSO, and all of the official paper work would say VW 911. The badges on the outside don’t matter and can still say Porsche. VW should still be allowed to introduce “new” models under the rules. I don’t think it will get to that, but it sounds like it might work.

      My favorite solution would be to give us a lightweight 2000 lb car – sort of a smaller/lighter Cayman. On the humorous side, maybe they could bolt mower decks to the bottom of the cars and import them as riding lawn mowers/outdoor power equipment.

  • avatar

    By then Ferrari/Maserati based Dodge Vipers will be on the market and the Corvette is not going anywhere. Porsches will only be missed by a very very few. So go out and buy a Viper or a Vette and put a Porsche picture on the rear view mirror and say …. arrivederci!

  • avatar

    You all don’t get it. You Porsche/Ferrari/Lambo/Bentley…owners need to understand:

    That you have a Porsche and someone else – a poor union worker put down by the man – doesn’t is – simply – NOT FAIR!

    Barak Obama WILL take your Porsche and make it available to the less fortunate. This is America and EVERYONE should have free healthcare, an opportunity to own a home and a Porsche in the garage (no chickens in the pot – because chicken guano adds to global warming and bartering chickens is hard to tax).


    Actually – I am kind of not kidding here (except for the mattress part).

  • avatar

    There’s no problem here… fewer (on no?) Porsches are sold to some rich people.

    Doesn’t really matter, except to the salesmen who sell them, the mechanics who fix them, the aftermarket manufacturers who make parts for them, the people working at the ad agency working for Porsche, the media outlets’ revenues where the ads appear, etc, etc, etc.

    Guess there will be someone else who will benefit, one of the “most favored” no doubt.

    Google search “Crony Capitalism”.

  • avatar

    Aren’t Porsche’s products subject to similarly onerous taxation issues in the European Union?

    I was under the impression that anything with an engine beyond a certain size (2.8L?) or a particular taxable horsepower rating resulted in some fairly hefty taxes and license fees for European owners.

    Not to ignore this initiative, but this type of pie-in-the-sky proposal has been made before by previous administrations, and the government always seems to back off when manufacturers can’t meet the requirements. It’s more of a negotiating tool, sort of like lowballing on your first offer when you buying a car or house.

    I love government, but God I hate politics.

  • avatar

    How about LWB versions of Porsches, Ferraris, Lambos, etc.?

  • avatar

    Buzzdog –

    The last thing on the planet you should “love” is government. Here is a classic example of government run amock. For the relative number of Porsches sold in North America as compared to the gas guzzling SUVs this is a travesty.

    At the rate our country is going, you’re going to need a license to take a crap and pay a tax everytime you flush the damned toilet. The fun is being sucked out of this country.

    • 0 avatar

      Speak for yourself, please…you misunderstood that quote.

      I am a proud U.S. citizen and can’t think of a country I’d rather live and die for. I love the government that I am a part of as a voter. If I don’t like something about it, I can speak up against it and work to change those in power.

      I have ancestors who fled an inability to do what I can do, and relatives who died to ensure that others in Europe and Asia would have similar freedoms.

      So yes, I love my government. And don’t you dare try to tell me to do otherwise.

      God bless America.

  • avatar

    I don’t want to be the party pooper who introduces facts into the discussion, but the CAFE standards which place Porsche’s future in the US in jeopardy were signed into law on December 19th 2007 by George W. Bush.

    I have no issues with anything written in this article, other than the title.

  • avatar

    A. This will never happen.

    B. Even if it does, a SC DI I4 with a Turbo mated to a generator (rather than providing boost) to power a high power electric motor will more than acheive the rquired performace and CAFE requirements.

    Still do not understand why this isn’t be done currently, mate turbo and generator, using battery (much smaller than in current hybrids) to turn generator until proper boost required to power motor. Why isn’t this possible? (I have asked this question several times)

    • 0 avatar

      No one does this because it doesn’t work. Gas engine->transmission->wheels pretty much has to be better than gas engine->generator->battery->electric motor->wheels, since there is more opportunity for power to be lost along the way. A turbo adds nothing to the equation, and electric motors don’t magically add power from the air. To get 100HP to the wheels in a perfect system, 100HP worth of gas must be burnt. More gas must be spent to compensate for each piece of the system that wastes energy between the engine and the wheels. The extra weight of the car works against this idea too.

    • 0 avatar

      You need to ask Porsche to get an authoritative answer. They said (not with much enthusiasm) that they would try a Hybrid (more like in the Cayenne).

      As for “This will never happen:” Famous last words.

    • 0 avatar

      No not a gas turbine powering only an electric motor.

      An SC ICE with a normal turbo, but instead of providing boost to the engine, use waste exhause gas to spin a turbine attached to a generator (seems to be the perfect use of waste heat), the generator then is used to power an electric motor used in tandem with the ICE. SC would provide extra power to ICE until such time that the Turbo would spin fast enough to for the generator to provide sufficient charge for the electric motor, thus using the ICE and Electric in tandem.

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      rnc, you seem to be describing just another form of hybrid, and they all would seem today to be using an ICE in parallel/series/whatever with the electric, just as you’re describing.

      I think what you’re getting at is to use the ICE as a stationary gen set, constantly operating at its most efficient duty point, generating power through batteries to elec motors, which would likely be close coupled to the wheels. I’ve always suspected that, absent massive leaps forward in battery technology, this concept will be the future of our driving appliances. Yech, but there it is.

    • 0 avatar

      No, I am describing a system in which a turbocharger, rather than providing boost to the engine, is used to spin a generator, which in turn is used to power an electric motor (isn’t one of the holy grails of ICEs to capture the waste heat). the drivetrain would be the ICE and Electric motor in tandem to the transmission.

      Rather than the current Prius/Ford or GM type hybrids which rely on batteries, regen braking and special transmissions, the electric power would be generated by the turbo using a waste product of the ICE.

      Say a I4 ICE with 200hp/150ft/lb (+) 100hp/200ft/lb elec. motor (with electricity provided by turbo generator).

      Basic question why can’t a Turbocharger be hooked to a generator rather providing boost to the ICE?

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      But you are describing the current hybrid concepts, schematically. Except that you may be adding a bit of complexity to those concepts.

      As I understand it, the waste gas currently being used to drive a turbo and boost intake pressure, would now go to drive a turbo to drive a generator, which would have to function through a full operating range, much like the turbo. Somebody would have to look at the energy efficiency of this arrangement, but in terms of first cost, I see no savings, and maybe an add (right now, the turbo pushes air into an existing intake system, but you’re now adding a generator system)

    • 0 avatar

      I doubt very much whether a turbo could turn a generator of any useful size. Electical generators take a lot of effort to turn, which is why large amounts of coal are burnt to make high-pressure steam, or placed at the bottom of large dams or waterfalls. Exhaust pressure can’t even blow packed snow out of an exhaust pipe (I discovered this while investigating why my father’s car would always stall at the bottom of the driveway in the winter – he was hitting a ridge of snow that he neglected to shovel and plugged the pipe). A generator on a turbo would either not turn, turn at a very slow rate, and/or cause so much exhaust back-pressure that the ICE would stall.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    I’m a US military vet and I no longer love my government. I still love my country, BuzzDog.

    But did you know that the American governemnt purposely poisoned industrial alcohol from 1920-1933 in order to poison the people who DARED to take a drink during prohibition?

    The wealthy people could afford the best “real” hooch smuggled in from Canada, of course… they weren’re affected.

    How about the fact that the Eugenics society in California which started early last century (and which spread across the nation), funded by Rockefeller and other wealthy, sterilized those deemed “not worthy of reproducing” involuntary, literally taught the Nazis how to go about extermination of “undesirables” and one of the primary people involved (Sanger) went on to form Planned Parenthood, because she loathed black people? Did you know that in 1965 the US had a population of 195 million and 40 million blacks, and in 2010, the US has a population of about 320 million and only 30 million blacks? How about the fact that some 55 million innocent babies have been “legally” cut out of their moms and killed since 1973, with blacks being a far higher proportion than the population? Sanger got what she wished. Of course, other countries are just as guilty of this crime against humanity.

    No, I used to believe in the exceptionalism of the United States but I no longer do. We simply aren’t any better a country than any other, and we should stop trying to pretend that we are. Pride comes before a fall.

    The fact is humanity is what it is – evil – and we can’t fix it.

    We can, however, try to limit the damage of evil. We could start in our own country first, and leave everyone else to their own devices, as well. We’d be best to toss out the evil politicians and put the best citizens we can into positions of political service – did you happen to notice that word? Starts with an S.

    Of course even if this happens, within a short while the barnacles once again begin to appear on the ship of state and the process must be done all over again. Or the ship sinks.

    • 0 avatar

      Could we please get back to the topic? That last comment wasn’t meant to do anything other than to state that we tend to self-correct such over-reactions of politics. It was not meant to stir up the Joe Stacks of the world…

    • 0 avatar

      Sorry, Buzzdog, but whenever I hear “who died to ensure that others in Europe and Asia would have similar freedoms,” I wince.

      I don’t want to talk about bringing democracy to Japan with nuclear bombs. I don’t want to discuss the American denial of the existence of concentration camps in Germany during WW II.

      Our neighbor was Fritz Nolting, the Ambassador to Vietnam under Kennedy. I remember Fritz for two things: For driving into our pool on a riding mower with a Martini in his hand. And for stepping down under protest against the US-engineered military coup against Diem. Diem was elected (under somewhat shady circumstances,) but he was more elected than the military dictators after him. Ho Chi Min said: “I can scarcely believe the Americans would be so stupid.”

      Don’t ever volunteer for dying to ensure other people’s alleged freedom. You’ll become a victim of fraud, no matter what side you are on.

    • 0 avatar
      bill h.

      Bertel, your thoughts brought me to a quotation I have often recalled:

      “The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.”
      Samuel P. Huntington

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Here we go again. Don’t we as citizens (and just individuals with lives) have more to worry about than whether Porsche will be able to meet some emission standard at some ill-defined future date? Couldn’t we have some sense of proportion? Thousands in Haiti and elsewhere have lost limbs and loved ones, millions die of malaria in Africa annually, the litany is well known but a fact nonetheless. So isn’t all the sturm und drang over this stuff a bit perverse? To change the subject, the site’s reporting of the ongoing Toyota debacle is really outstanding. Will you guys be elegible for a Pulizer? No joke.(The National Enquirer apparently now is).

  • avatar

    Re: Increasing the gas tax or instituting a carbon tax as mentioned often on the other thread:

    The main problem with those solutions is that they effect the working poor greatly.

    Go ahead raise the Federal gas tax to $10/gallon. The guy in the Porsche will grumble but be able to pay, the guy trying to fill the tank of his Hyundai to get to work won’t.

    Taxing displacement or fuel mileage gives the working poor the option to buy a fuel efficient car and stay on the road even if they have to drive a “penalty box”.

    Furthermore, public transit won’t help the poor that live and work in small town and rural America. These people seem to be forgotten in the rush to raise gas taxes and spend that revenue on subways.

  • avatar

    Why are we tacking on the maximum of 37.5k onto every vehicle? Sure it’s a worst case scenario, but is it realistic? Do we even know under what conditions the 37.5k will be applied?

  • avatar

    First of all I don’t think it will happen. Porsche will find a way to get that mileage eventually and if it doesn’t then other carmakers sure won’t either. But if the worst were to happen, MSRP of a basic Boxster would climb from $47,600 to $85,100, it is still way cheaper than said Boxster in other countries such as Braziil et al. were import taxes can go up to 200%.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    Porsche, VW and Audi are now going to be one company. Audi has great experience with even very small A-class cars being made of aluminum (though the car in question was a failure on the market, partly due to the extra price involved in the aluminum body construction, this is much less of a problem for a PORSCHE, is it not?)

    So as I opined on the other thread on this subject, Porsche has just barely got time enough – if they start now and stop whining about it – to get a 42 mpg “911” type car developed.

    But on reflection, I suspect they may have to go “hybrid” after all.

    This doesn’t necessarily mean “gasoline electric” hybrid, however.

    A 2.0 litre pancake six at the rear, powering a high pressure hydraulic pump, with a high pressure accumulator tank (with nitrogen under pressure) and motor/pumps on all four wheels would allow sparkling performance instantaneously.

    Car guys can all wince at the fact that no more shifting would be needed or desirable and that the thing would sound like my CVT Subaru – too bad.

    You want a Porsche for $40,000 or would you rather have one for $85,100?

    C’mon Porsche, make Herr Porsche’s memory proud – he and his sons were engineers. Butzi Porsche developed the 911. You can do it.

    Sure it’s a minor thing compared to all the problems of the world. That’s not the point.

    We can’t stare at our navels and contemplate the miseries of life all the time, we’ll all want to go slit our wrists. Sometimes, you’ve got to look at the fun and sunny side.

    As well as sometimes you’ve got to look at the possibilities of keeping icons on the road “just because” we’re car guys and it’d be a shame not to!

  • avatar

    Look, it’s time to call a spade a spade:

    Why are big cars allowed to consume more gas (and by inference) produce more CO2 than small cars?

    Why are cars with a larger footprint favored?

    So suddenly, size matters after all?

    Why don’t we go back to the time honored way of counting the votes by how much land we own?

    If you really want to save the environment, then you tax by gas consumption or even better, by the amount of crud that comes out of the tailpipe.

    As everybody who knows this industry knows, this is the Detroit protection act. Or racket.

    • 0 avatar


      but i dont see where the problem is, coz … maybe somehow (C7) … that detroit3 “protection act” will become unnecessary in the following 6 years …

    • 0 avatar

      Why are big cars allowed to consume more gas (and by inference) produce more CO2 than small cars?


      Or rather, the The Image Of the American Farmer. If you’re an American politician, you do not f)ck with the cap-and-dusty-buttoned-down-shirt wearing, sun-browned, honest-sweat-on-his-brow, drives-a-pickup-truck Farmer. You do not want to be the guy who voted for the bill that caused him and his honest, apron-wearing, pie-baking wife to sell the farm.

      Never mind that The Farmer buys used pickup trucks. Never mind that The Farmer is really a front for ADM or Monsanto (or, in this case, GM, Ford, Chrysler and, possibly, Toyota and Nissan). The image is so incredibly powerful that you daren’t go against it if you value your political career. It doesn’t matter if you were elected by urbanites from Manhattan who haven’t tread on dirt in the lives.

      And that’s where Revenge of the Son of the Bride of the Light Truck Exemption comes from: it’s to spare truck sales so the The Farmer won’t have to pay more for The New F-150.

    • 0 avatar

      psar, I couldn’t decipher you over all the snark.

      Which is it? Does “The Farmer” buy a used truck or a new truck? Sheesh, get your agenda straight, buddy. :P

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      psar, not that I disagree with your paradigm, because I don’t, but it may be even simpler than that. If you tax everybody, every voter, your political career might be in trouble. Better to hit the few, and face fewer problems at the ballot box. Everybody drives larger vehicles, not just farmers.

      So if a few Porsche folks suffer… tough luck, suckers. You can pay off a few politicians later on, at crunch time, and maybe find an exemption.

      Bertel’s right that the Detroit 3 will move through CAFE like Sherman through Georgia. It’s likely got plenty enough loopholes for them, or at least so say those who I’ve spoken with. It did last time, and will again I’m sure. It’ll skew the mix of our fleet, and have unintended consequences, but they’ll get through it. I don’t know if there’s a way to work the body on frame SUV truck scam again, but they’ll think of something, if necessary.

      All together now: “‘CAFE sucks’. Say it with me now, brothers and sisters! ‘CAFE sucks!\'”

      Ditch CAFE, and not only will nothing change in the composition of our fleet (we saw what happened last time, remember), but we’ll likely save money overall, and lower our overall cost per mile to drive… every one of us.

      And then you can have your godforsaken Porsche bucket of bolts, if you want, Bertel. ;-)

    • 0 avatar

      I wrote the last paragraph a little prematurely. My bad.

  • avatar

    Who says this is a car blog?

  • avatar
    Bruce from DC

    Assuming that Porsche cannot graft itself onto VW, A.G. for purposes of computing its compliance with the newly-raised CAFE, this strikes me as the kind of situation that really is ripe for an exception. That is, a specialty automaker, which imports a relatively small number of cars into the U.S. should not be clobbered when a similarly-situated full-line car company is able to bring into the U.S. (or produce domestically) the same number of vehicles, with the same low fuel economy without suffering the same draconian penalties. I’m referring, of course, to whatever exotica Daimler-Benz, BMW, or Audi choose to import and, of course, to the GM-produced Corvette.

    So I’ll have to join the chorus of people crying “alarmist” at you.

    That said, the complainers should have had the experience of driving the Porches of a simpler, less steroid-enhanced era. I’m speaking of the Porsche Super C and the early 911s. They were certainly very high on the fun-to-drive quotient, if a little hairy. It would certainly be interesting to see what Porsche could come up with in a contemporary version of the Super C . . . with a four cylinder, flat engine in the back, and today’s stickier tires. My guess is that one of those could be made that would meet the CAFE requirements.

    I don’t see how various hybrid engineering exercises are going to fill the bill. The one possible exception is using a gas turbine to drive the generator feeding a battery. Gas turbines exist that are extremely small and light, and at full power, are quite efficient. Efforts in the 1960s to use turbines to power road going vehicles stumbled on the fact that they are very inefficient idling and being operated at less than full power. However, cycling the turbine on and off as needed at full power to recharge the battery might work. Of course, turbines are expensive to manufacture, requiring the use of exotic metals, etc.

    Other than for bragging rights, in the U.S. I really don’t see the point of a 150-mph capable street car.

  • avatar

    You know, the compromises inherent in American politics and CAFE standards notwithstanding… and the development lifecycle of a new automobile notwithstanding…

    Isn’t this the same company that developed a lean product that got 30 mpg 53 (FIFTY FREAKIN THREE) years ago? I seem to remember reading an article gushing over the “less is more mantra” that produced this specimen:

    Sorry, y’all quit your bellyaching. The industry bitches and moans about these standards; you know what happens? Countries that adapt have viable, sustainable, transportation systems and automobile industries. Companies/countries that don’t end up releasing products that are engineering embarassments.

    I love Porsches, but since I work for a living, as did my father, I’m not likely ever goign to own one. My girl’s brother does, but he works in a value-adding industry known as financial services.

    So, from my point of view (assumine the premise of this story is true) Porshe/VW has 3 options:

    1) Lobby some congressmen to insert language favorable to the 2009 takeover/fleet standard

    2) Tap into their vaunted engineering talent to develop an affordable sporty 2 seater that gets strong mileage. Something akin to the updated 356, with minimal safety/luxury enhancements, and a small engine that is fun to drive. You say why do they have to have product fleet that gets 41 mpg? I say why the hell can’t they?

    3) Price their product so the orthodentists and investment bankers of North America have to pay 37k more for the worlds premium non-Italian sports car (and if you listen very carefully, I am tuning the world’s smallest violin over here.)

  • avatar

    1st I am not a porsche owner, or desire one. I prefer economy cars.
    That said.. tagging people with “alarmist” could equally tag you with being “naive”. Trying to think the government is logical is misguided, how often has the government been logical? don’t you see it being more likely that the government is more vindictive then making intelligent choices?
    So the reality is they could and would find a way to eliminate Porsche. Now why would someone who does not care about Porsche decide to discuss this issue? Because remember so many things have a snow-ball effect.. and also realize with the GM/Chrysler bailout there is a favoristism toward GM/Chrysler.. especially GM. So a government plan to eliminate competition could be a hidden plan. It is not far fetched, it is not completely out of the question.
    So if porsche were eliminated they could focus on making more limitations, fines & rules applicable to VW, Toyota & Honda.. and Kia/Hyundai.
    Again think about it, this is a possibility, and one that should be factored in.. one that I think those that are being called “alarmist” are pondering that snow-ball effect.

  • avatar

    So clearly the US auto industry losing it’s way is but a metaphor for the entire country losing it’s way. I’d like to encourage those who hate government to visit Somalia and see where no government will get ya. As for Porsche, I think they’ll find a way. It might be an expensive way, but there will be one.

  • avatar

    Better start churning out the diesels, hybrids, and EVs to offset the sports cars, I guess. Yawn, figure it out! It’s not as if American automakers only make light trucks so that they can make money while being exempt from CAFE…they make light trucks to make money, full stop!

  • avatar

    “Drudge-like” is a high praise.

  • avatar

    What’s wrong with this (and the previous) article? Let me count the ways…

    1. It’s based on a complaint by a lobbyist/company spokesman that new regulations will ruin their business. Much like all the past complaints by domestic and foreign car makers that new safety and emissions standards will ruin the industry, this one is also wrong. None of such claims has ever been proven factual over the past 30 years and its safe to suspect that Porsche is just fishing for an expemption as it is cheaper than finding an engineering solution.

    2. Porsche is complaining that CAFE hasn’t got anout loopholes. Say what? CAFE has loopholes big enough to drive a truck trough – work with it.

    3. I’m no fan of the current government but please restrict the “Obama is taking away your guns/childern/freedom/cars” to paranoid conspiracy websites and leave TTAC to cover industry news.

    • 0 avatar
      Martin Schwoerer

      carguy +1, with an added note that Porsche is world-class at lobbying — they pushed the European Commission into softening planned noise immission regulations. In Europe, they can employ the ever-useful jobs argument; this doesn’t work in the US so they ring the protectionism bell — but isn’t the WTO the place to go when you have a earnest complaint in that field?

  • avatar

    CAFE is ***about*** loopholes. But the loopholes favor the US industry.

    Still, I would love to see a lighter, more efficient Porsche. But a hybrid would ruin it for me. The sound of a Porsche ICE is like Mozart.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    Yes, David; hence my thinking in terms of the boxer six 2.0 litre engine (which, incidentally, would fall under some very beneficial tax regimens in both Europe as well as Japan).

    A boxer four simply sounds like an old VW beetle or a Subaru (I know, I have a Subaru).

    When you pay $40 grand for a sports car, a chug chug sound simply doesn’t cut it…. IMHO! Not that I can afford $40k for a car (never mind, $81k for one including new Obama-Nation taxation).

    Let’s not forget that the ORIGINAL 911’s were 2.0 litre boxer sixes.

  • avatar

    Someone please correct me if I’m misreading this, but I see two possible endpoints.
    1. Porsche starts selling even more large cars, but down on power and still very pricey (to protect branding). The company will end up making large auto equipped suck-mobiles, and they won’t be price or performance competitive with larger luxury makes who also sell sporty small sedans. 911 stays the same, but eventually goes away to give the real money makers room to grow and update. It’s a lose lose for Porsche enthusiasts.
    2. Porsche makes smaller sports cars, which are better sports cars anyway. Switching to dramatically lower weights and smaller displacement turbo engines gives them the leeway to improve performance against updated competitors. This is more than possible, but they run the risk of finding out that a lot of their customers want bigger cars, and will go to BMW et al. who have the fleet volume and budget-ish customers to buy up base model equalizers.

    I’m tempted to view any lobbying efforts (re: excemptions) as a short term fix at best.

  • avatar

    To those who would throw Porsche under the bus: This is a slippery slope at best. Once the powers that be have gotten rid of Porsche, they will be gunning for something else next. When they come for your “economy” car, and tell you to get your ass on a scooter, will you be concerned then? George Orwell is laughing his ass off, wherever he is.

    • 0 avatar

      First they came for the ass- engined Nazi slotcars and I did not speak up because I wasn’t a newly divorced middle- aged stock broker with erectile disfunction and new hair plugs, relearning how to work a clutch while wearing Gucci driving shoes with no socks…

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    1. CAFE is a monument to government by gesture. It is a policy that never accomplished anything other than making the automobile hating editorial board of the NYTimes feel righteous.

    2. That said, the current law is defective, perhaps unconstitutional, in failing to allow for ownership changes after 2009. It is also defective to the extent that it does not allow for the trading of credits among OEMs.

    3. Porsche needs to revisit its own design philosophy. The current 911 is a revision of an almost 50 year old design. They are heavy and bloated. It is passed time to move on. If they seek inspiration in their own past, I suggest the RS 550 and the Speedster.

  • avatar

    penalties of up to $37,500 per car will be due. We repeat: Per car. The MSRP of a basic Boxster would climb from $47,600 to $85,100

    Emphasis mine. That’s if and only if the Boxster incurs the maximum penalty. Will it?

    If not, please stop misrepresenting the facts. If you want to know why the “commentariat” sometimes finds you incredulous Bert, this is why.

    This site indicates there’s a discrepancy between the CAFE standards and EPA rules, with the conflation of the two causing much of the hysteria:

    The relevant passages buried in the Federal Register for upcoming standards indicate the Feds are quite cognizant of the small sports car market:

    If a manufacturer’s average miles per gallon for a given compliance category (domestic passenger car, imported passenger car, light truck) falls below the applicable standard, and the manufacturer cannot make up the difference by using credits earned or acquired, the manufacturer is subject to penalties. The penalty, as mentioned, is $5.50 for each tenth of a mpg that a manufacturer’s average fuel economy falls short of the standard for a given model year, multiplied by the total volume of those vehicles in the affected fleet, manufactured for that model year.

    Before fitting the sloped portion of the constrained linear form, NHTSA selected footprints above and below which to apply constraints (i.e., minimum and maximum values) on the function. For passenger cars, the agency noted that several manufacturers offer small and, in some cases, sporty coupes below 41 square feet, examples including the BMW Z4 and Mini, Saturn Sky, Honda Fit and S2000, Hyundai Tiburon, Mazda MX–5 Miata, Suzuki SX4, Toyota Yaris, and Volkswagen New Beetle. Because such vehicles represent a small portion (less than 10 percent) of the passenger car market, yet often have characteristics that could make it infeasible to achieve the very challenging targets that could apply in the absence of a constraint, NHTSA is proposing to ‘‘cut off’’ the linear portion of the passenger car function at 41 square feet. For consistency, the agency is proposing to do the same for the light truck function, although no light trucks are currently offered below 41 square feet. The agency further noted that above 56 square feet, the only passenger car model present in the MY 2008 fleet were four luxury vehicles with extremely low sales volumes—the Bentley Arnage and three versions of the Rolls Royce Phantom. NHTSA is therefore proposing to ‘‘cut off’’ the linear portion of the passenger car function at 56 square feet. Finally, the agency noted that although public information is limited regarding the sales volumes of the many different configurations (cab designs and bed sizes) of pickup trucks, most of the largest pickups (e.g., the Ford F–150, GM Sierra/Silverado, Nissan Titan, and Toyota Tundra) appear to fall just above 66 square feet in footprint. NHTSA is therefore proposing to ‘‘cut off’’ the linear portion of the light truck function at 66 square feet.

    • 0 avatar

      That makes it sound less onerous, but its still wrong, as is having a whole separate criteria for light trucks, which most people use interchangeably with cars – because the drivers seat is the only one occupied most of the time.

      Somebody upstream said because farmers use light trucks, you’ll always have special treatment. News flash – we already do – see IRS Form 4136 and associated state forms. Farmers already get rebates on gas/diesel used for legitimate agricultural purposes. Its a stretch, but you can include at least some light truck miles/gallons in that. My father-in-law used to have a 125 gallon tank right by his house (strange placement in my mind). My Dad’s neighbor did too, and the local boyz liked to poach a little from him – right up until he put a couple of friendly .22 rimfire warning shots into one of their rear fenders…..

    • 0 avatar

      I thank you you for calling me “incredulous.” It is a great honor.

      The generally accepted synonym for incredulous is “skeptical.” I am and have always been.

    • 0 avatar

      Bert, will the 2016 Boxster incur the maximum penalty?

  • avatar

    So here is the Porsche solution: 41mpg average ?

    1) License chevy volt design from GM rated at 230mpg
    2) Rebadge it and sell at a loss for $20k, losing $20k/car so they sell like hot cakes.
    3) Increase price of each Porsche (I’m assuming they get 20mpg, haven’t looked) by $2500 ($2500*8=$20k)
    4) (230+(20*8))/9 = 43mpg average. Done!
    Alternative: Increase each porsche by $5k and give the rebadged volt away for every 8th porsche sold as a promotion

  • avatar

    Robstar, that is generally a good idea (like selling more GEM vehicles). However, CAFE uses a harmonic mean not arithmetic mean. So you would have 9 / (1/230 + 8/20)) = 22.25 MPG. A way to think about this is if 1 Volt and 8 Porsches went for a 22.25 mile drive they would combined consume 9 gallons of fuel… the Volt would consume almost nothing and the other 8 vehicles would each consume slightly more than a gallon for a total of 9 gallons used.

    The calculation uses the harmonic mean but the penalty spreads linearly over the manufacturer’s fleet, which means Porsche would be better off NOT being grouped with VW from the standpoint of overall fines. It’s better to let VW brand meet the CAFE and pay no fines and let Porsche brand pay the fine but only on the Porsche vehicles.

    Anyway, I can’t find anything about the fine amount changing. Currently it is $5.50 per 0.1 mile under. So a car getting 20 MPG under the required amount would pay $1100 per car. For Porsche, that’s less than the cost of ordering metallic paint.

  • avatar


    Take VWs 1.4L TFSI (40 mpg), raise the boost, stick it in a super lightweight rear engine car with all the bells and whistles, market it based on having great handling, sell it as the 356 successor.

    Do the same with a super lightweight mid engined platform and sell it as the 550 Spyder successor.

    Hell, Lotus already does it.

  • avatar

    If it’s all about footprint, how about a really big body kit and some wheel spacers to move the car up a fuel economy class, along with a booklet describing what you should absolutely not do to the car to return it to normal size? This would be a bit like the “magic wire” on Suzuki GSXR ECUs which when clipped switched the engine map from the one with a 4000rpm flat spot to get through the drive by sound test to one with a proper power curve.

  • avatar

    I don’t know if anyone’s mentioned it or not (don’t have time to sift through the Obama haters and the Obama apologists to see), but couldn’t Porsche just place economy switches on their vehicles with the default setting being “efficient”? That way if someone doesn’t want their Porsche to be wussified/efficient they can flip a switch or press a button and get the power they want? I’ve not read CAFE regs word for word, but I bet that would be a good loophole. Not just for Porsche, but for all manufacturers.

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