Ferdinand Piëch, former Volkswagen Chief and Grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, Dies at 82
Piëch was the father of the Porsche 917 and Bugatti Veyron, and was inducted in the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2014 .
Ferdinand Piëch, former Volkswagen Chief and grandson of Ferdinand Porsche has died at 82. Piëch reportedly collapsed while attending a dinner event in Bavaria on August 25, and died at a nearby hospital on August 26. The exact cause of death is not currently available.
Piëch is credited for transforming Germany's largest automobile manufacturer and saving the company from certain doom. He was brought on in 1992 as threat of bankruptcy loomed, and reinvigorated the automaker's image with green-lit production of the New Beetle. Piëch's leadership rapidly expanded VW's footprint in the international automotive market, and led to acquisitions of high-end brands Lamborghini, Bentley and Bugatti.
An engineer by trade, Piëch spearheaded the development of the Porsche 917. Deemed one of the greatest racing cars of all time, the record-breaking machine went on to give Porsche its first 24-Hours of Le Mans wins in 1970 and 1971, and featured prominently in the Steve McQueen film Le Mans.
The skilled engineer went on to spend time at Audi, taking charge of the automaker’s technical development division. There he helped pioneer the Audi Quattro, which promptly dominated the rally racing circuit upon its debut in 1981.
Piëch had expanded VW's holding to include struggling luxury-brand supercars, and in such endeavors fathered the Bugatti Veyron. The supercar held the title of fastest production car in the world after a record-setting attempt in July 2010 that was famously featured on the hit automotive television show Top Gear. Unfortunately, it was revealed several years later that the car used in the record attempt was modified with a deactivated speed restrictor and the titel was stripped. Still, the vehicle made an impressive 267.8 mph time.
In 2014 Piëch was inducted in the Automotive Hall of Fame for his undeniable strides in the automotive industry. He remained VW Group supervisory board Chairman until his resignation in 2015.