Discount Porsche Canceled. Again

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Good news for armchair brand strategists: Porsche’s race to the bottom (of the price range) has been cancelled. There will be no entry-level roadster below the Boxster, Porsche CEO Matthias Müller told the Stuttgarter Zeitung today. It’s not that there won’t be lots of new customers for the bargain-Porsche. Current customers don’t want their brand to be devalued and debased, Müller says.

“The brand is the main reason to buy a Porsche. That’s why we need to see to it that the brand remains what it is, a desirable premium. If we would offer a car positioned below the Boxster, we would be talking to a completely new target group. If that would lose us the current Porsche customers, then we wouldn’t do our brand a big favor.”

Müller thinks a car positioned between the 911 and the 918 is worth considering, but it is currently not in his plans. Neither is a small Panamera.

Come to think of it, Müller had said something like that many months ago. Apparently, it is worth repeating.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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6 of 59 comments
  • 95_SC 95_SC on May 13, 2012

    “The brand is the main reason to buy a Porsche.” Guess Ill keep the old Miata then...The car itself was my main reason for buying it.

  • FJ60LandCruiser FJ60LandCruiser on May 13, 2012

    Porch has a very neatly structured product line where less expensive cars in no way should eclipse/outperform their pricier bretheren--that's partially why the Boxter and Cayman will never be given serious engine upgrades, because it'd be sacrilege for any Porch owner who spent 100 grand to suddenly feel inferior to an upstart in a 60k car, God forbid what would happen if that car cost 30k? You might even have to TALK to the filthy rabble when you take your precision machine in to the dealer. But that logic seems to fall apart with the cars and SUVs they've put forth. Does the Denali and ML cross-shopping bored rich housewife meet the stringent Porch image? And who is the Panamerica[sic] buyer? When the wealthy orthodontist or plastic surgeon takes a weekend off with his mistress, he doesn't want to bring the family car along for the ride. I don't know, I think that Stuttgart can make some very appealing cars, but most of their line-up is garish and appaling... and way overpriced.

  • Jethrine Jethrine on May 13, 2012

    "Yes sirree! And if they’re really really good, a few years after that, give ‘em a raise to a buck-fifty an hour and all the food they can eat at the company cafeteria. Porsche would have discovered a new way to cut costs! Pay ‘em less as they get better, yeah, that’s the ticket." I think you may be on to something here. Give them a pay cut for high performance, tell them less employee income tax revenue goes to the gummint. With less revenue the gummint can't do all the things you don't like them doing. You've invented the new corporate Southern Strategy. Panamera, two possible explanations. 1. Photoshop gag that somehow got out of control. 2. Some petulant 13 year old grandchild of F Porshe is throwing a birthday tantrum. "I don't want a Carrera4 I want a four door Carrera" (in my head this plays out almost exactly like Violet Beauregard's introductory scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

  • DC Bruce DC Bruce on May 14, 2012

    This strikes me as a sort of half truth. First, Porsche brand equity today is built from the hulking SUVs and the hulking Panamera sedan: "I own this expensive car because I can afford to and you can't" It's not built on what remains of Porsche sports cars. Ergo, a (relatively) cheap sportscar is not going to build "brand equity. Second, Porsche and all the German manufacturers' cost structure is such that they simply cannot build a cheap sports car that, dollar-for-dollar is better than what's avialable from Japan (or possibly in the not too distant future) Korea. The Z3 and the Boxster were supposed to be "cheap and cheerful" sports cars (and the Z3 was assembled in the U.S., to make it cheaper). At its original price, the Z3 was not competitive with the Miata . . . but BMW stuffed it with increasingly more powerful engines -- which simply served to reveal the limitations of its cheap and cheerful chassis (and trailing arm suspension) and also drove up the price. The Boxster suffered a different fate: it was fundamentally a great platform and Porsche baked in more performance . . . and higher price. Today the Z4 is pretty much of a boulevardier, not a serious sports car; and the Boxster is expensive. For cheap thrills get a Nissan 370Z or even cheaper thrills, get an MX-5. Somewhere in between is the new FR-S. No room for the Germans.