A MASTERCLASS IN GREED.
DateMONDAY, JULY 6, 2020 AT 10:17AM
By Peter M. DeLorenzo
Detroit. It’s no secret that Porsche has leveraged its brand cachet for all it's worth. The once-humble little car company founded on the idea of building lithe sports cars has grown into an automotive touchstone and one of the most profitable car companies in the world.
That Porsche was forced to stray far from its roots, however, was inevitable. After all, building legendary sports cars and fantastic racing cars – and achieving major racing victories across the globe – could only take the company so far before the realities of survival became the single most important issue facing the company.
Becoming part of the VW Group juggernaut allowed Porsche to have a solid foundation of financial stability, but even that wasn’t enough. So, the company embarked on a strategy that Porsche operatives believed would allow it to survive – and thrive – well into the future. Starting with the Cayenne SUV and further expanded with the Macan SUV, Porsche focused on the hottest market segment and made the transition from being a sports car maker that happened to dabble in SUVs, to an SUV maker that happened to still build sports cars for the True Believers willing to invest in the brand. And now, Cayenne and Macan account for more than 60 percent of Porsche sales worldwide.
But being part of the VW Group has brought new pressure to bear on Porsche. VW is going all-in on electrification of its vehicle lineup, and Porsche is expected to contribute mightily to that effort. Which is why the company is offering its new, fully electric Taycan. But there’s proof that this transition is going to be costly for Porsche, because the company is pulling the plug on its factory-supported Porsche 911 RSRs in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at the end of the season. The symbolism of this move was hard to miss. Porsche is walking away from its raison d’etre – competing at the highest level of major league sports car racing – in order to devote all of its engineering focus and energy to building more EVs throughout its product lineup. That Porsche still makes brilliant sports cars – the 718 and 911 - is duly noted, and they will for years to come. Slowly but surely, however, Porsche is transforming into something else altogether, and where the company will end up will be interesting to watch.
One thing that will never change at Porsche, apparently, is the fact that they employ the most creative – and flat-out usurious – pricing and option structure in the business, which is the reason it is one of if not the most profitable car company in the world. Now, to be clear, I have no problem with car companies making money; it’s the name of the game, in fact. But Porsche’s pricing approach has been to gouge both its True Believer enthusiasts and its new SUV aficionados with equal ruthlessness. It’s nothing short of a Masterclass in Greed.
For today’s discussion, I will give just one example of Porsche’s prodigious fleecing of its customers, but you can certainly extrapolate this across its entire product lineup. Let’s take a close look at the new Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe, which has experienced saturated automotive media coverage of late.
To call the Cayenne GTS Coupe a “coupe” is disingenuous, at best, because it’s just a four-door Cayenne with a slightly faster back, and less rear headroom. But this trend is not new, as BMW and Mercedes-Benz have been flogging this notion for years. I guess some would could call it “sporty,” but I loathe that description when it comes to automobiles, so I’ll just leave it here.