Porsche CEO has no plans to go down self-driving route

FRANKFURT/BERLIN (Reuters) - Porsche VOWG_p.DE does not plan to join luxury carmakers who are trying to develop self-driving vehicles, its chief executive told a German newspaper, indicating differences between large premium brands and sports car companies.

Dr. Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board for Porsche AG, introduces the 2017 Porsche 911 Turbo S at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan January 11, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Lamborghini, also part of the Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE group, has expressed similar scepticism about the trend towards autonomous driving, a concept which brands such as BMW BMWG.DE and Mercedes-Benz DAIGn.DE are seeking to build into their models.

The comments from Porsche Chief Executive Oliver Blume show that some car makers believe their drivers want to remain firmly in control at the wheel.

“One wants to drive a Porsche by oneself,” Blume said in an interview with regional newspaper Westfalen-Blatt published on Monday.

“An iPhone belongs in your pocket, not on the road,” Blume added, saying that Porsche did not need to team up with any big technology companies.

The market penetration of vehicles with autonomous features is expected to reach 13 percent by 2025, representing a market of roughly $42 billion, Boston Consulting Group said.

Stuttgart-based Porsche, which stresses the performance and feel of its cars in its marketing, does plan to offer hybrid versions of all its models in the foreseeable future as it struggles to lower emissions across the fleet.

A plug-in hybrid of the 911 model with a range of 50 km (31 miles) will hit the market as early as 2018, Blume said.

Porsche also plans to spend about 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) on production facilities at its biggest plant to build the Mission E, its first-ever all-electric model, a move reflecting parent VW’s growing commitment to increase its electric offerings as it struggles to overcome an emissions scandal.

The Mission E, boasting more than 600 horsepower and a range of over 500 km, will come to market by the end of the decade.

Reporting by Maria Sheahan, Andreas Cremer and Edward Taylor Editing by Louise Heavens and Keith Weir