Little was known about the sub-Boxster model Porsche was planning to produce. Some, like myself, saw it as a successor to Porsche’s 550 Spyder and 356. Others pointed to the parts sharing between Porsche, VW, and Audi, and saw the car as a successor to the dreadful 914. We may never know how good it may or may not have been however, since reports out of Germany say that Porsche is stalling its development.
Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller sat down with German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche to discuss the automaker’s future. When pressed about the 550 successor he stated, “Possibly we need to wait until the next generation of customers before the idea of a small roadster will work for Porsche,” and that it would “dilute the brand image.” This reason is complete nonsense. He might have well said, “These are not the droids you are looking for.”
This statement is a smokescreen for Porsche’s true intentions. Porsche does not care about “brand image,” it cares about profits. Their history and brand image is only a means to squeeze out profit, not an inspirational launching point for new products as they would like you to believe. They are leveraging this pedigree in every way possible to reach 200,000 sales by 2014. Their sales numbers are a window to this strategy.
In a report by freelance analyst Timothy Cain, he shows that Cayenne sales alone account for 44.7 percent of total sales volume. The Panamera accounts for 24%. 68.7% of Porsche -a brand that touts its sporting image like a tween on Facebook with a new fake tan picture- makes their money selling SUVs and 4-door sedans to badge snobs. The 911 only sells 20% of their volume and is only around to salvage Porsche’s sporting history. Tellingly, the Boxster and Cayman account for 5% of sales.
As you can see, sports cars don’t sell in volumes for Porsche. This sub-Boxster would therefore not be very profitable, or sell in high volumes. However, they can’t just come out and say, “We are killing this sports car because it won’t make us richer.” No, that would tarnish “the aura” that Porsche has built up to sell products outside their traditional offerings. Instead, they do marketing gymnastics to show that a cheaper sports car will dilute the essence that is Porsche.
Now, Porsche is the pious protector of their own legacy. Look, they are killing off a product that goes against their sporting history. Look again, here’s a sepia toned motorsports video that shows the legacy that this small, sports car will supposedly tarnish. The horror. Thank Ferdinand that Porsche has the determination to stand up for the brand’s purity.
Now, look again, here’s a small SUV that will be made instead of a small sports car. This small SUV is the Cajun, and Muller goes on to state in the same interview that Porsche aims to sell 50,000 of them. The Cajun is a small crossover based off other VW and Audi products, like the Cayenne before it. What? You don’t remember seeing the footage of small SUVs racing in LeMans? You’re memory must be fuzzy, here’s a branded Tag Heuer to remind you how authentic we were back in the ’60s.
Of course, Porsche could not afford to offer only sports cars. Many know that Porsche was in dire financial straits without the Cayenne, and without it, may not be able to produce the crazy 911 variants they do make. However, Porsche has another thing coming if they think they can say they are protecting the brand by offering small SUV’s instead of sports cars. Be honest Porsche, you care about the money. Now if only there was a way to kill off that 911 and offer something that will really showcase Porsche’s brand history. Can the Cayenne be turned into a coupe easily?