While still exclusive, Porsche is gradually becoming a more populous and profitable brand. It delivered 238,000 vehicles last year and posted an operating profit of $4.1 billion — a 14-percent increase over 2015’s accounting.
A little back-of-the-envelope math places the per-car profit at roughly $17,250. As a premium automaker, you’d expect it to rake it in on every vehicle sold. However, Porsche doesn’t limit production to the same extent that Ferrari does in order to maintain artificially high prices. And it absolutely decimates other premium brands that offer exclusivity at a higher volume. BMW and Mercedes-Benz both hover at around $5,000 in profit per car.
Porsche seems to have struck an ideal balance. While its per-car profit was actually higher a few years ago — $23,000 in 2013 — it wasn’t making quite as much money overall. At the time, Bentley pulled in roughly 21 grand per unit and sold fewer vehicles overall. Since then, Porsche has shifted some of its focus downmarket, introduced the Macan, expanded its volume, increased income, and still managed to maintain a sweet profit margin on every vehicle sold.
How did it manage that? Basically, the same way Ford wrangles its F-150.
Ford typically brings in $10-14K on every truck it sells — much more than its average passenger vehicle. Like F-Series buyers, Porsche owners are extremely loyal to the brand and are more than happy to spend more to option out their chosen model. Both companies can sell at volume, keep prices up, and maintain a cult-like following because people love what they are buying. Special edition F-Series are marked up thousands of dollars for what is basically some additional badging, chrome details, and higher quality leather.
The same goes for Porsche’s most affordable model, the Macan. According to Bloomberg, the majority of shoppers don’t settle anywhere near its base $47,500 trim. The base crossover comes in either black or white and the second you even consider silver or blue, it’s another $700. Want red? That’s $3,120, and custom colors will more than double that fee.
That’s just the tip of the spear. You could easily tack on ten grand by simply fiddling with the seats and wheels, regardless of the model or trim you’re interested in. Porsche’s optional extras are endless, desirable, and none of them are cheap. Extras on the more expensive models come at an even higher premium. Similar options on a Panamera or Cayenne will run roughly 10 percent more than they would on a Macan, and it just goes up from there.
It’s unsettlingly rewarding to waste an hour on the company’s website, choosing a vehicle and then morphing it into something that expresses your own distinct sensibilities. By the time you’ve decided that you want a metallic black Macan Turbo with RS rims, a beige interior, and the panoramic sunroof, you’ll be staring $82,690 in the face — and the worst part is, you’ll still want the car.