Porsche Is The Automotive Equivalent of A Faustian Bargain
Porsche is one of the most interesting car companies in the world. Whether you think of Porsche as the company who built the prototypes of the Volkswagen Beetle, or the company that developed some of the most cutting edge sports cars in the world, it's safe to say that you've heard of them, but there are three big elephants in the room that are responsible for keeping Porsche alive and thriving. Three models that embody the spirit of a Porsche, but not much else.
Elephant #1: The Panamera
Let's start with the longest elephant of the three, the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo. The Executive Panamera is 204 inches long, it's nearly the size of a Chevrolet Tahoe. The Panamera Sports Turismo comes in at 198.8 inches, which is 21 inches longer than a 911. The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo is one of my favorite cars in the world, because of my obsession with massive wagons, but also because Porsche had the guts to produce a 677-horsepower wagon that can do zero to sixty in 3.2 seconds. Sure it's a heavyweight, coming in at over 5,000 lbs, but who cares? This thing is amazing. The Panamera line as a whole was also responsible for 38,000 sales globally in 2018, 3,000 more than the 911.
Elephant #2: The Cayenne
Ah, the epicenter of the sacrilegious takeover of this company, the Porsche Cayenne. The Cayenne has been around since 2002, debuting as a 2003 model. The Cayenne, currently in its third generation, is single-handedly responsible for opening the door for Porsche to flourish. By the end of 2003, the Cayenne was outselling the 911, today the Cayenne outsells the 911 and accounts for 25 percent of all Porsches sold in 2018. The Cayenne may be responsible for the success of Porsche as a profitable company, but as of recently, the Cayenne has been dethroned as Porsche's best selling model.
Elephant #3: The Macan
The Macan is selling like hotcakes, selling nearly 45,000 units in its first model year, and getting ridiculously close to selling roughly 100,000 units a year globally in both 2016 and 2017. The Macan is an incredible crossover that combines the sportiness of a Boxster or Cayman, with the versatility of a Cayenne. While I'm definitely not trying to become a Porsche salesman, it truly is the best of both worlds, and more importantly, it doesn't look horrible. Brian Cooley said that the Macan is "a five-seater crossover from a company known for sports cars, and a company who's future is being primarily known for things other than sports cars." Outselling the 911 nearly 3:1 isn't all that special, but considering the Macan S starts at $58,600, it's definitely significant.
If it wasn't for some strategic planning, Porsche would be floundering in today's market, and by creating a brand that is now revered for its SUVs, wagon, and soon electric sedan, it seems Porsche is no longer the one-trick pony that it used to be. It is through these mass market models that we've been able to enjoy several new generations of the 911 and the Boxster/Cayman, but also the multitude of high-performance variants like the GT4, GT3 and GT2RS. Even the 918 was built because of the massive sales numbers of the three elephants in the lineup.
Porsche was able to make a deal with the devil and win. By building an incredible lineup of vehicles that even include diesels and hybrid technology, Porsche has been able to keep their sports cars alive so that they can be the aspirational goal of many generations of gearheads to come. I think it's paid off, and with the Taycan already having 30,000 pre-orders, Porsche is only going to grow larger and create even more jaw-dropping models for years to come.
What do you think of Porsche's strategy? Did they sell out? Was it worth it? Should they have stuck to their guns like TVR and other sports car companies? Comment Below!