Industry Giant and Porsche Descendent Ferdinand Piech Dies at 82

The former Volkswagen chairman, Ferdinand Piech, reportedly died in hospital on Sunday night.

The report comes from Germany’s Bild newspaper, according to which Piech was at a restaurant with his wife Ursula when he collapsed and had to be taken to hospital. The cause of death was not immediately clear.

Piech was a towering figure in the automotive world. Grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, Piech joined Volkswagen in 1972, via Audi, where he helped develop the brand’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system before moving on and eventually ascending to the chairmanship of Volkswagen.

“Ferdinand Piëch has written automotive history – as a passionate manager, ingenious engineer, and a visionary entrepreneur,” wrote Hans-Dieter Pötsch, Chairman of the supervisory board of VW in a statement. “Since the 1960s, he has significantly shaped the development of the automobile, pushing forward the entire industry and above all Volkswagen, transforming the company into a global mobility group.”

As CEO he played a crucial role in making it one of the world’s largest automotive companies. It was also during his tenure that Volkswagen’s diesel emissions cheating device was developed. After the scandal broke, he was forced off the board of directors.

Still, the company we recognize today as Volkswagen is largely thanks to Piech. Audi’s Quattro AWD system, the purchase of Porsche, Bentley, Ducati, and more can all be traced back to him.

“Our company and its people owe Prof. Piëch a lot. With deep respect, we bow to his life’s work. We mourn with his family and relatives. And we will
always keep him and his life’s work in honorable memory. ”

via DW