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Porsche to Replace 911 GT3 Engines Following Motor Fires

Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller Stands With the Porsche 911 GT3
Porsche AG Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller introduces the Porsche 911 GT3 automobile at the 83rd Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva in 2013. Photographer: Valentin Flauraud/Bloomberg

Porsche AG will swap out the engine on the racing version of the 911 sports car after the German automaker took the rare step of telling customers to stop driving the model because the vehicle could catch fire.

“We’re not taking any risks when it comes to the safety of our customers,” Porsche Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller said today on the sidelines of a company event in Stuttgart. “We’re acting fast and decisively to fix this.”

The Volkswagen AG brand sent out details to owners yesterday and is offering replacement cars such as the 911 Turbo while their vehicles are repaired, Mueller said.

Porsche last month recalled all 785 of the 137,300-euro ($190,930) 911 GT3 from the current model year after two vehicles caught fire following engine failures. No accidents or injuries were tied to the incidents, it said at the time.

“To replace the whole engine is quite a drastic measure,” said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. “It shows Porsche is very keen to solve this as fast as possible to allay concerns and keep any disgruntled customers.”

Recent Recalls

Porsche’s most recent quality issues come as General Motors Co. plans to repair more than 3 million vehicles for a flaw linked to 12 deaths. Recalls in recent months at other automakers -- including at VW, Chrysler Group LLC and Toyota Motor Corp. -- highlight the challenges car manufacturers face in adding increasingly sophisticated technology to new models.

Porsche recalled 100,000 Cayenne sport-utility vehicles in 2012 to fix a defect with parts holding in the front headlights, and offered fixes for various models in 2011 and 2010 to tackle seat-belt flaws.

The recall of the GT3, which has a 475-horsepower engine that accelerates to 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour in 3.5 seconds and has a maximum speed of 315 kilometers per hour, is relatively small because it’s for one specific model variant with limited production.

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