Porsche makes a rare mistake, but a big one

I’ve owned old and new Porsches and there are many things to love about them. One of the biggest advantages is you get super car like performance, street livability, a fun track car and a level of quality that no other performance car company can come close to. You can take a 600 horsepower Turbo on a cross country trip and feel confident that you won’t break down along the way…not something most people would try in a Ferrari or Lamborghini.

Sometimes even the best screw up and this time I hit the unlucky lottery. Up until recently, everything about my order has been trending early. On or around March 17th, we started to hear rumors of a stop-sale order issued by Porsche. These aren’t common but there have been a few recently. One recent one was due to possible emissions and extra steps the US was taking on import…most people felt about a one to two week delay. There is another stop-sale impacted cars where a suspension bolt needs to be replaced which is also being handled quickly and isn’t an invasive fix. The rumors we were hearing for this recent one were different…possible issue with the 4.0 engine used in the Cayman/Boxster GTS, the GT4 and the Spyder. Uh-oh. Rumors spread like wildfire and you can see from this growing thread on Rennlist that without clear communication from Porsche, many of us filled the void with anxiety and angst (this thread is up to 1200 posts and 90K views as of 4/11)

On March 29th, an official recall notice came out by Porsche through the NHTSA:

It was confirmed and my car is impacted. Porsche had discovered an issue with the connecting rods used in a specific range of cars that can result in catastrophic engine failure and fire. This is very similar to an issue that happened to 991.1 GT3 engines that also resulted in a massive recall. In this case it is 190 cars in the US and ~800 worldwide.

On April 3rd, while my car sat at the Port of Houston, I received an email from Porsche confirming that my car was impacted and that it would take 3 to 6 months for me to receive my car. More information to come.

Simon Kuhnimhof was nice enough to take a video call with me the following Monday and I was able to express my frustration and concerns with the lack of transparency in how they were handling this. Simon was as helpful as he could be and I really appreciated his willingness to at least meet and listen. He committed to additional details in the next few weeks so I’m hoping to know more by the end of this coming week.

What I know so far. Out of the 190 US cars impacted, 19 had been delivered to customers already. These cars clearly represent the biggest risk to Porsche since the issue may result in engine self-destruction and fire…not a good look. As expected, Porsche communicated faster and with more clarity to this group offering a loaner car, $2K/month for lost time and depreciation, a trip to one of the Porsche Experience Centers and they will be swapping the engines for new factory built engines within 1 to 2 months. There was 1 additional person that had already fully paid for their car and they eventually included this person in the delivered group with this same offer. This is a crappy experience for this group but Porsche is ensuring they get made close to whole.

What is still uncertain, is how Porsche will handle the undelivered cars. In the similar situation with the GT3 fiasco, Porsche replaced all engines with factory built engines. My spidey sense is telling me that Porsche is considering a repair instead of replace strategy for the undelivered cars. Check my last post for a video of Porsche manufacturing an engine and it starts with connecting rods going in. For this 4.0 engine, any repair will require removal of the engine and a complete tear down of it, splitting it open to replace the rods before it all gets put back together. While I mostly trust Porsche to do this to the highest levels of quality possible, doing it outside of the factory, either at Port facilities or at the dealership, is less than ideal. I’m waiting to hear official word from Porsche before making any decisions but I am highly unlikely to pay for a new car that has a day-0 engine rebuild without substantial compensation to account for the time and “story” these cars will carry with them. I’m still counting on Porsche doing the right thing and replacing these engines.

Photo from the Porsche factory:

My worst nightmare (not that I expect this but still…)

My attempt at a Porsche engine rebuild with my first 911 and a patient father:

One thought on “Porsche makes a rare mistake, but a big one

  1. Pingback: Porsche saves the day | 911 Maniac

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