BY MOST conventional standards, getting slapped with an A$853m fine will probably ruin your day.
But Porsche is not a conventional car company. For the 2016 financial year, it was the most profitable car brand in the world, recording profits of $6.22 billion or, to put that figure into perspective, more than twice what PSA Peugeot Citroen paid for the entire Vauxhall/Opel brand.
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In 2017 that crept up to $6.61bn, while for 2018 it dipped slightly to $5.59bn.
In other words, if we take last year’s profits as a benchmark, Porsche makes A$15.3m a day, every day of the year. The Dieselgate fine imposed by a Stuttgart court yesterday for a "negligent breach of duty" relating to its use of diesel engines with emissions-test-cheating software and the damages derived against Porsche for the "economic benefit" it derived from its illegal NOx claims represents 55.7 days earnings.
Porsche would theoretically have to operate until February 24th before the till started chiming again. Porsche SE Group’s total assets totalled $52.9 billion as of 31 December 2018. So the fine for Zuffenhausen’s cheating actually amounts to a 1.6 percent slice of the company. Or three years’ LMP1 racing budget. Hardly debilitating, is it?
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Porsche withdrew all diesel engines from sale in 2018 and is not appealing the ruling. It also draws attention to the fact that it was supplied with diesel engines by its parent company and had no part in the insertion of emissions defeat devices as it "never developed and produced diesel engines".
Viewed through that lens, perhaps it feels hard done by. Glass half full? Porsche has dodged a bullet.