Twitter replacing Blog

A Word in Edgeways:

Change, the only Constant we Know

You, my faithful readers, will probably have asked yourselves: What has happened to my Blog “En route with…”?

The answer is rather simple: I have become infected with the Twitter virus. I was told one does not exist as a journalist and PR professional unless one indulges in more or less lucid comments.

So this is where you can follow up on my comments, concerns or opinions:

https://twitter.com/winsusie123BigSMile

Yes, these tweets are very condensed, but they can spread more easily. Which is why I, too, have opted for this further tool of communicating with a wider public.

KISS: Keep it short and simple. Even if the topic frequently is extremely complex.

Stay tuned in. Looking forward to reading your comments ;-) .

Best

Susanne

Never Resting on Their Laurels

Porsche and LMP1

A lot has happened since my last contribution here on my “sleepy” Blog, which is why – to keep you amused, here is a video which I personally happen to like a lot. It is about team spirit, dedication, passion, meticulousness – and success. I would quite have liked to dub this piece… really inspiring.

In a sense contravening digitilisation, most of my recent activities have been printed matter. But a film now and then is really getting the emotions across in a direct manner. Highly contagious anyway.

High Flyers

A Celebration of the 911

The 1970 F-model, the G-model from 1981 and the current 911 taking off into the sky – Porsche finally has its spectacular monument right in the centre of Porscheplatz. This is bound to attract even more friends and lovers of the iconic marque.

Learing to fly !

Learing to fly ! Photo: Roeder.

“Inspiration 911” has transformed Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen’s most famous roundabout in front of Porsche Museum. And the thousands of motorists passing it daily will see a towering tribute in white to the eternally young 911, to the people at Porsche and to the epicentre of the Porsche group exemplified by the listed red brick building just 300 metres away, where the 911 story began.

A splendid inauguration ceremony officially dedicated the sculpture to the public, and the road leading to Porscheplatz was cordoned off for all but a moving collage of selected Porsche sports cars. This outstanding work of art that British artist Gerry Judah created for Porsche is a variation on the acclaimed temporary sculpture which he had conceived for the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2013 to celebrate 50 years of the Porsche 911.

This sculpture completely designed in white has quite obviously been built to stand for decades, very much in keeping with the never-ending story of Porsche passion and of the 911 in particular. No other sports car model has survived for anything like as long and kept its essential identity through now seven evolutionary phases. It is still the benchmark for its class and has created a myth beyond compare.

The artist’s idea, inspired by this myth, is wonderfully simple: Three cars – that is three actual cars minus only fluids – are fixed to three elegantly asymmetrical arms that reach out into the sky; one to Austria, where in Gmünd back in 1948 Ferry Porsche built the first 356 which started it all, another towards Saxony and to the second Porsche plant in Leipzig. Not far from here Porsche have recently bought the toolmaking division of KUKA Systems. This is another subsidiary and now operates under Porsche Werkzeug GmbH. The third highlights nearby Weissach, where all Porsche cars are designed and developed and which simultaneously is the hotspot of the successful racing division which this year has really taken off in a big way with their World Endurance Racing triumphs.

The 24 metre high “Inspiration 911” has given Stuttgart another significant landmark. It pinpoints the sports car manufacturer’s longstanding commitment to the city and pays homage to Ferry Porsche’s dictum: “Those who are fortunate enough to build a business from a dream owe it to the world to be the custodians of that dream.” This belief has now been visualised and planted solid in the ground while still displaying the sheer dynamism and inspiration that will take Porsche into the future.

Susanne Roeder

Racing with Rahel

… in the pouring rain on the new Audi test track in Neuburg near Ingolstadt.

Rahel Frey is an extremely good instructor, plus a great person to be with – and a very good racing driver.

The type of car Rahel is driving.

The type of car Rahel is driving.

Having had driving lessons in the Audi R8 V10 plus was sheer pleasure! Encore, encore, encore!

 

 

 

From the Racetrack to the Road

This season's Black Magic: LMP1 Porsche 919 hybrid

This season’s Black Magic: LMP1 Porsche 919 hybrid

Modulare Baukastenstrategie hin oder her: Der Motor bleibt im Heck!

Uns geht es nicht in erster Linie um Volumina.“ Matthias Müller, der Vorstandsvorsitzende der Porsche AG, wird nicht müde, dies zu betonen. So auch bei der diesjährigen Jahrespressekonferenz. Worum es stattdessen geht? Um ein gesundes „betriebswirtschaftliches Ergebnis und um eine Kundenbasis, die für uns berechenbar ist und bleibt“. Das Ziel sei immer, absolutes Wachstum zu erzielen. Nicht nur das ist dieses Jahr gelungen. Nach Audi am Wochenanfang konnte auch Porsche innerhalb der Volkswagen-Familie ein neues Rekordergebnis verkünden, das bisher beste seiner Konzerngeschichte. Die Marge lag bei 16 Prozent und soll auch im laufenden Jahr die 15 Prozentmarke erreichen. Womit sich erneut bestätigt, dass Porsche einen erklecklichen Teil zum Umsatz im Volkswagenkonzern beiträgt.

Sustainability and Porsche Intelligent Performance

Der Sportwagenhersteller stellt sich von jeher rundum nachhaltig auf, ist nicht auf der Jagd nach kurzfristigen Erfolgsquoten. Das betrifft die Finanzpolitik – Stichwort Währungssicherung – genauso wie ein kontinuierliches sogenanntes „integriertes Porsche Prozessoptimierungsprogramm.“ Die Planung fürs Jahr im Einzelnen will Porsche nicht ausrollen, zumal man gerade erst März habe und die konjunkturelle und geopolitische Situation höchst volatil sei. Genau hier bezahle sich langfristiges Vorgehen. Um Planungssicherheit zu haben, betreibt die Porsche AG Währungssicherung, kann dadurch zwar nicht am ‚Doping für die Konjunktur‘ partizipieren, ausgelöst vom massiven Sturzflug des Euro, war andererseits aber auch gegen den Verfall des Rubel gefeit. „Wie sonst hätten wir gegen den Trend knapp 4.800 Autos in Russland verkaufen können?“

So viel an strategischen Zahlen aber war zu hören: Zwischen sieben und acht Prozent des Umsatzes müsse die Porsche AG jedes Jahr neu investieren, um die kostenintensiven gesetzlichen Anforderungen erfüllen und die Produktpalette weiter ausbauen zu können. Allein die strengen CO2 Auflagen schlügen pro Fahrzeug mit rund 2.000 Euro zu Buche. Eine neue Modellreihe zu installieren, allein der Aufbau dafür koste gut eine halbe Milliarde Euro.

Seventh Model Range

Und in der Tat kursiert schon längere Zeit das Gerücht um eine weitere, nämlich siebte Baureihe, welche „Ende dieser Dekade“ kommen soll. Wann genau dies sein wird, in welchem Segment und ob vielleicht gar als reines Elektromodell oder an welchem Standort es produziert werden soll, darüber hüllt sich das Unternehmen nach dem Motto „Reden ist Silber, Schweigen ist Gold“ in letzterem.

Im Rahmen der Baukastenstrategie fällt Porsche die Oberhoheit über den MSB und den MMB zu, also über den Modularen Standardantriebs-Baukasten und Modularen Mittelmotor Baukasten. Heißt das nun, dass alle Porsche zukünftig mit einem Mittelmotor unterwegs sind? Mitnichten! Müller betont klar und deutlich: „Der Motor des 911 bleibt im Heck.“ Man habe mit dem Mittelmotor für Boxster und Cayman eine gute Aufteilung der Modellpalette erreicht. Wenn der Motor eines 911, der eigens für besondere Erfordernisse im Rennsport ausgelegt wird, etwas anders platziert wird, sei das eine andere Geschichte. Und gebetsmühlenartig fügt Müller hinzu und man nimmt es ihm ohne Einschränkung ab: „Ein 911 bleibt ein 911.“ Mit diesem Versprechen hatte er seinerzeit sein Vorstandszimmer im denkmalgeschützten Backsteinbau in Zuffenhausen übernommen – auf dessen interne Modernisierung er noch immer warten muss. Auch das eine nachhaltige Strategie, die er locker verschmerzen können wird.

A propos 911: Noch im vierten Quartal wird die Produktaufwertung des Inbegriffs eines Sportwagens in Serie gehen. Vorgestellt wird das Facelift auf der IAA im September. Und auch der neue Alte wird die 52jährige Evolutionsgeschichte wieder mit deutlichen Verbesserungen, zum Beispiel in punkto weitere Emissionsreduzierung und weniger Gewicht, erfolgreich fortschreiben.

Reaching for the Championship

Le Mans, das berühmteste Langstreckenrennen der Welt, lag und liegt Müller besonders am Herzen. Man war angetreten mit dem Anspruch „mithalten“ zu können. Nach 16 Jahren Abstinenz ging es wirklich nicht ums Siegen. „Aber wenn man dann als Führender kurz vor dem Ziel ausgebremst wird, ist das schon bitter.“ Jetzt fiebert der Vorstandsvorsitzende zusammen mit allen Beteiligten dem diesjährigen Rennen an der Sarthe entgegen. Diesmal tritt Porsche sogar mit drei Teams, unter ihnen auch der Formel 1 Fahrer Nico Hülkenberg, und einem „noch besseren 919 Hybrid“ an. The heat is on. Schon Ende März kommt es zum Testrennen, zum WEC-Prolog, gegen Toyota und Audi in Paul Ricard in Südfrankreich.

Und in der Tat verrät Matthias Müller kein Geheimnis, wenn er verkündet, „dass wir dieses Mal schon gerne auf dem Siegerpodest stehen wollen.“ Doch es ist nicht Art for Art’s Sake, es geht nicht um Siegen um des Siegens willen. Vielmehr kommen die Erfahrungen und Erkenntnisse „aus dem rasenden Hightech Labor des 919 Hybrid“ allen zukünftigen Porsche Fahrzeugen und damit den Kunden zu Gute. Heute lautet das Gebot der Stunde mehr denn je: Von der Strecke auf die Straße. Und damit thematisiert der Vorstandsvorsitzende auch die Elektromobilität: „Für uns stellt sich nicht die Frage, ob ein reines Elektrofahrzeug mit einer Porsche-typischen Performance auf die Straße kommt, sondern wann werden wir mit einem solchen Fahrzeug unsere Kunden begeistern.“

Susanne Roeder

©roe

 

 

Fresh, Young and Cheeky: HYUNDAI

Hyundai's smallest family member, the cute and surprisingly solid i 10.

Hyundai’s smallest family member, the cute and surprisingly solid i 10.

So Cute … you almost want to cuddle it

It has been a bestseller right from the start, Hyundai’s cheeky little i 10. It is solid, it is well-made, it is stylish and it has features that one does not usually expect to find in the A segment. In a word, it is fun to drive, definitely as a four-cylinder with 87 PS. Even its sound sounds okay. We have heard worse in bigger engines.

“Do schebbert nix. Wie machetd die des?” This is Swabian for: “Nothing clatters, How do they do it?” – words forever famous since they were first uttered by the somewhat flabberghasted VW boss Martin Winderkorn when closely inspecting the i 30 during IAA in Frankfurt. Although spoken almoust four year ago these words have become a classic and are still ringing in our ears. And just as Winterkorn must have felt surprised at the quality of the Korean cars, the little i 10 won us iover with its cuteness and solid stance.

We took pleasure in driving the agile 3.67 meter long five-door Hyundai in beautiful Rheingau. What more does one need for the town? Agreed we still prefer the version with more horsepower (87 hp, 64 kW) to the three-cylinder i 10 (67 hp, 48.5 kw). And in spite of its belonging to the A segment the i 10 has features from the B and C segment, like a heated steering wheel and automatic air conditioning. The 3-cylinder can also be had with liquid gas. The i 10 starts at 9.950 Euro. It can be ordered in three different styles (Classic, Trend, Style).

Successful hatching of the Hyundai brand.

Successful hatching of the Hyundai brand.

There is no doubt, Hyundai has left behind its status as ugly duckling. Who would have thought that the ugly duckling Atos from 1997 would evolve into a swan in the shape of Instead, it has become a very successful brand of its own competing with the “establishment”. The OEM does a lot to be present in the media, where it pursues its appearance as a young and somewhat freaky brand. Hyundai is therefore actively involved in social media like Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. One extremely successful example has been the little Hyundai video that in ten minutes quoted no less than 70 blockbuster films. Within two weeks the video had almost 250,500 clicks on YouTube.

Today the once sneered at car manufacturer has ten model ranges with fifteen derivatives, all of which sell well. From the small i 10 to the Grand Santa Fe, from conventional to latest technology like LPG and fuel cell, Hyundai has it all. With Thomas Bürkle and Peer Schreyer the Koreans have two renowned designers to rely on for a fresh and imaginative design.

Hyundai’s worldwide success stems from a bundle of factors such as design, a convincing value for money ratio, reliability, five years guarantee irrespective of the mileage. Speed is another one of Hyundai’s codes of success. The developing time for a new model has been cut in half from 48 down to 24 months. And it is to be further shortened, down to 14 months.

How better to catch emotions than with football. To further broadcast the brand, Hyundai is acting as main sponsor of FIFA and UEFA football events. During the last European Football Championship the OEM managed to raise its brand awareness from 29 to 49 per cent. Apart from acting as sponsor Hyundai actively takes part in motorsports. Thus, the Koreans will soon start during the 24 hours on the Nürburgring. The car manufacturer opened its testing ground next to the race track. Which goes to show that motorsports is a great help when it comes to developing reliable street cars that carry future technologies.

Susanne Roeder

 ©roe

 

Aquam e Pumice postulare

Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel: “Eine Maut wird es mit mir nicht geben.”

Already forgotten?

Matthias Wissmann: What about it?

Politics in Brussels: Only eating Brussel sprouts?

So this is the latest addition. 8 points is not the issue. But the money one has to pay. And who decides on what road what speed is permitted? Whereas on some long and winding roads it is only possible for the advanced driver to reach the allowed 100km/h, on other totally straight roads it is 60km/h – where the speed limit used to be 100km/h. Just one example.

Änderung des Bußgeldkatalogs

So, again, cash cow car driver. All the other countries, yes, they do have a Maut System of some sort. However, the Germans already pay incredible taxes for petrol (75 %). And e-mobility is heavily sponsored, and still intolerably expensive, simply because the well-to-wheel balance does not work.

Frau Merkel, you once studied physics, did you not? So where is the logic in this? Or are you swaying opportunistically in the wind as you have almost always done?

Source: Mobil in Deutschland e.V.

 

About a Little Boy

Pylonen… with bees … in his bottom !

There once was a little boy, one of three children. His father was a carpenter and did some construction work to the house of a friend of ours. Noticing our friend’s trophies, the man  asked: “So, you are into racing?” – “Yes,” was the answer. – “I can show you something, in case you are interested.” He sure enough was.

… A True Story

So one day Harry joined the family on a little track. What our friend was to see took his breath away: a little kid aged four racing through pylons at unfathomable speed. He was dead afraid this child might hit a lamp post. But no. At the age of four and contrary to what traffic experts will  have to say, this child had imbibed the movements of a perfect racing driver. He was no other than Sebastian Vettel from Heppenheim, a little place in Germany.

Older kid with need for speed.

Older kid with need for speed.

Many do not really like him. One wonders why.

The chap is just soooo fast as to make F1 boring, some say. And, yes, we all know that he should change the team at some stage. But maybe Red Bull are now asking him to pass on his racing excellence to his  new team mate and then release him to move to another team. Who knows. Lots of speculations, lots of rumours. As always when someone is doing outstandingly well. This excellence, we are convinced, Eddie Irvine would have to acknowledge, even though according to Motorsport total Irvine claims Michael Schumacher was the better driver. Really?

The team Red Bull allegedly does everything pro Seb. Is that so?

Well, it has to be said that Sebastian had the guts to disagree with Team Order. Not bad for a  hero, one is inclined to intonate. Nico Rosberg, on the other hand, in the same race followed Mercedes Team Order. Should that be better? Alternatively, is it better that for Ferrari Alonso quite ostensibly was the Number 1 driver, Felippe having to huddle behind like a little slave?

What are the rules of F 1? Does not each team try to outdo the other? One should not forget that Vettel’s now ex-team mate Mark Webber caused quite a number of crashes. And whether or not Mark Webber left due to Seb is ultimately immaterial. He was given a brilliant chance to drive for Red Bull. Quite ostensibly, he had passed his prime in F1 and is now given another formidable chance, namely LMP1 with Porsche. Now that cannot be bad! Webber himself sees it that way.

There has to be a space for whizz kids who quite simply outdo others in their field. And Sebastian undoubtedly is one of them, just like outstandingly speedy Lewis – even though, sadly, Lewis has somewhat lost track with his involvement in soapy glitz world. And, hey F 1 fans: Don’t be unfair. Hey commentators and ex-F 1 drivers:  Try not to be envious but acknowledge their capabilites. Sebastian is an elitist first-class driver, and has deserved all the respect for his incredible performance. Full stop.

Susanne Roeder

©roe

PS: Horrified to hear of Michael’s terrible skiing accident.

 

 

 

 

 

The Walk of Time

Years come and go. So do calendars. A publishing company really doing a good job concerning picturesque calendaria is DeliusKlasing. For example their “Historische Eisenbahnplakate” (Edition Maritim) are a classic every year. They produce many a calendar year in, year out. A highlight for the coming year is certainly this calendar. Happy 2014 with Porsche and their return to Le Mans!

Porsche 917 - a hell of a challenge it was.

Porsche 904 GTS – a hell of a rocket starting off the myth of Porsche racing history.

delius-klasing.com

 

And how about a little nostalgic soundbite:

 

 

Susanne Roeder

©roe