His love of technical details and tight joint dimensions in vehicles made Ferdinand Karl Piëch legendary; he held the nickname “Fugen-Ferdi”. In 1963, he started at sports car maker Porsche, became head of testing and development, then technical managing director. After holding leading positions at Audi, he moved to VW in 1992 and shaped the group, which was flagging in the early 1990s, into the world’s most profitable automaker.
Piëch is credited with a number of technical innovations in automotive engineering, including the all-wheel drive developed for Audi, the 3-liter car for VW and the TDI diesel engines, a milestone in the development of diesel engines. Piëch also pushed the increased use of lightweight materials in car manufacturing.
Piëch holds several honorary doctorates, including from the Technical University of Vienna and ETH Zurich. In 1999, he was elected Automotive Manager of the 20th Century. He wears the Grashof memorial medal. In 2014 he was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.