Porsche tells GT3 customers to stop driving for engine inspection

Porsche has delivered 322 GT3s so far this year.
UPDATED: 2/20/14 10:51 am ET - adds owner instructions

BERLIN/DETROIT -- Porsche on Thursday advised drivers of the most expensive version of its overhauled 911 sports car to stop driving the vehicle after two of them caught fire in Europe.

"Porsche is informing the owners of the affected vehicles directly and recommending that they stop using their vehicles," Porsche's U.S. arm said in a statement on Thursday. "The company is offering to pick up the vehicles and take them to a Porsche Centre immediately.

"Safety is a number one priority at Porsche, and the company takes its responsibility seriously. After engine damage occurred in two vehicles in Europe and the vehicles then caught fire. Porsche decided to inspect all 785 delivered vehicles worldwide. There was no traffic accident and no personal injury. Internal studies to determine the cause of the engine damage have not been completed yet."

Engineers at Porsche's headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, are examining the remains of the gutted vehicles from Switzerland and Italy to determine the cause of the fires, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

"We are looking at the same reports," said Dave Engel, a Porsche U.S. spokesman. "There is a stop delivery order on all in-bound models and vehicles on dealer lots."

The GT3 is priced in Europe at 137,000 euros ($187,700). In the United States, it starts at $131,395, including shipping.

Porsche expects to hit a target of selling more than 200,000 sports cars and SUVs in 2015, three years earlier than first scheduled, CEO Matthias Mueller said last week.

Reuters, Sean Gagnier and Philip Nussel contributed to this report.

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