FRANKFURT Performance sports car maker Porsche AG's (PSHG_p.DE) sterling reputation for quality took a severe dent on Tuesday, when it recalled every Panamera it built only months after the model line was launched to much fanfare.
The announcement comes on the heels of a quality scandal at Toyota (7203.T) and serves as a bitter pill for Michael Macht, who headed up production before being named the brand's chief executive late in July.
The Panamera grand tourer was supposed to catapult Porsche to new levels of growth and help the brand steal customers away from such four-door coupes as the Maserati Quattroporte or Mercedes-Benz CLS.
In recent years, Porsche has repeatedly received top marks from J.D. Power for its industry-leading quality benchmarked in the research and consulting firm's annual benchmark surveys.
Porsche said all 11,300 Panameras would be brought to the mechanic to fix possible faulty seatbelt tensioners.
European automotive holding Porsche SE controls 51 percent of Porsche AG, with the remainder held by Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE).
The news could prompt VW to take action. Martin Winterkorn, who serves as CEO of both Volkswagen and Porsche SE has repeatedly said that the better a brand performs, the more autonomy it gains within the overall group.
Volkswagen's reputation is also indirectly at stake, since its Hanover plant supplies the Panamera's painted bodies-in-white for assembly in Porsche's Leipzig plant.
(Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner and Hendrik Sackmann in Stuttgart)