Obama Will Take Away Your Porsche, Take Two

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
obama will take away your porsche take two

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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  • Slow_Joe_Crow Slow_Joe_Crow on Feb 24, 2010

    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.

  • Reclusive_in_nature Reclusive_in_nature on Feb 24, 2010

    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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