The German car manufacturer makes some of the fastest sedans and SUVs on the planet, all of which are designed to storm down the Autobahn in supreme comfort. It’s no surprise, then, that chief executive Andreas Bovensiepen believes limiting speeds of new cars across Europe could have detrimental effects on the industry.
“Initially we’d expect a dip in sales (if such legislation was put in place). In the first place it will hurt every fast-car manufacturer… but I think ultimately people will still want to buy performance cars. It’s like buying an expensive watch; I think people will always enjoy buying expensive, fast cars,” he told Which Car.
Although Bovensiepen doesn’t think such regulations would kill the industry of high-performance cars, he does stress that speed limits could discourage car manufacturers from investing heavily in new and innovative suspension and tire technologies.
“If there are speed limiters I think the majority of cars will get a much lower quality in suspension,” he said. “The German manufactures will say ‘oh, why should we invest so much money in suspension if there’s hardly any difference if you can go no faster than 120km/h’. In that case you don’t need five-link suspension etc.”
“If we have lower speed limits then the focus of tire tech could shift to be entirely more on durability and not grip. So they’ll make harder compounds with less rolling resistance, but with less grip on a wet surface. So maybe you have more accidents,” Bovensiepen added.
Germany has been toying with the idea of abandoning de-restricted autobahns for quite some time, but no final decision has been made yet.