Porsche AG is nearing a fix to a glitch that caused engine fires in a racing version of the 911 sports car. “We know the reason and the problem-solving measures,” chief executive Matthias Mueller said. “We’re testing them.” He said that Porsche is planning to disclose the technical solution “shortly” and then inform its customers.
Porsche recalled all 785 examples of 911 GT3 from the current model year in February after two instances of fires due to engine failures. Porsche has requested owners stop driving their 911 GT3 pending repairs. No accidents or injuries were tied to the incidents, Porsche said at the time.
The division is expecting its earnings for 2014 to be “at least” at the 2013 level amid investments to expand its sales operations in the China and the United States and production in Germany. Porsche posted a 6-percent rise in operating profit in 2013 to EUR2.58 billion, generating an 18-percent return on sales. The figure at Volkswagen Group, meanwhile, was 5.9 percent.
Cost savings from cooperation with Volkswagen, which took full control of Porsche in mid-2012, will “get close” to a EUR1 billion goal as soon as 2014, Mueller said. Chief Financial Officer Lutz Meschke said that synergies would soon exceed that amount. Porsche’s investments abroad this year will concentrate on adding distribution in emerging markets, with 30 new dealerships intended for China by 2015.
The carmaker said it would invest a total of $100 million in the US, without specifying a time frame. Porsche will invest EUR300 million to add a new engine production line by 2016 as well as to expand offices at its Zuffenhausen site, as part of a EUR700 million investment at the site. Porsche is also investing EUR100 million annually at its research center in Weissach.
Porsche has already stopped deliveries of the 911 GT3 sports car after two incident of fires in Italy and Germany involving the model. The delivery stoppage will include sales in the United States. A Porsche spokesman disclosed that its engineers at the carmaker’s headquarters in Germany are examining the remains of the vehicles from Switzerland and Italy to determine the cause of the fires.
Dave Engel, a Porsche US spokesman, remarked that Porsche had so far delivered 322 units of the 911 GT3 in 2014. Each 911 GT3 has a starting price of EUR137,000 ($187,700). The 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 made its North American debut at the New York Auto Show. The new 911 GT3 can complete a lap on the Nurburgring Nordschleife in less than 7 minutes and 30 seconds thanks to its new engine, transmission, body as well as chassis.