By on September 21, 2014

porsche-macan-2013-la-auto-show-02You’ve closely tracked the Porsche Cayenne’s success by scanning parking lots outside fancy restaurants. You understand that the Cayenne’s omnipresence in Orange County translates directly to the mere presence of a 918 Spyder in Porsche’s lineup, which is important to you, the owner of a Buick Verano Turbo, just like every other TTAC reader.

As a result, you know that the Macan is simply the next rung on Porsche’s ladder. Oh, it’s the lesser of the two SUVs; smaller in size and price and probably status, too. But this is the vehicle which moves Porsche from niche luxury player closer to the mainstream premium arena. Three sports cars won’t do it, not even with the addition of an SUV and a massive four-door hatchback.

Thanks in part to an additional 3947 Macan sales in the U.S. over the last four months, Porsche USA has sold 31,759 total vehicles through the first eight months of 2014. This moves Porsche’s market share up to 0.284% from 0.268% a year ago.

An incremental improvement? Most definitely, but the rate of Porsche’s improvement is in excess of what the overall market is averaging. Total new vehicle sales are up 5% in the United States in 2014. Porsche USA volume is up 12%.

The figure achieved by the Macan in its first month on the market, when 1263 were sold, was both representative of some pent-up demand and Porsche’s ability to meet that demand, if only at first. But it was also a tell-tale that the Macan, as if there was ever any doubt, was not another low-volume Porsche sports car. (Porsche sold 312 Caymans in May; 411 Boxsters.)

August told another, different story. The Panamera’s 3945 year-to-date sales represent a 14% year-over-year improvement for the brand’s people-carrying passenger car. Yet the Macan has generated more sales activity for Porsche in the last four months than the Panamera has over the last eight. That the Macan can quickly muster more sales in a shorter period than the Boxster or Cayman is no surprise. Yet in August, the Macan’s 969 U.S. sales nearly matched the 1056-unit total achieved by the Boxster, Cayman, and Panamera combined.

PanameraNow, the Panamera is not exactly America’s favourite car. Mercedes-Benz sold 1855 S-Classes and 1150 CLS-Class sedans last month. The Lexus LS, Audi A7, BMW 5-Series, BMW 6-Series, and Audi A8 were just a few of the other high-end premium brand cars which found more new customers than the Panamera.

But from a purely inward-looking Porsche perspective, the Macan’s early-onset success and the Panamera’s inability to keep up speaks to the current state of the automotive industry. Crossover tops car. Porsche USA’s Panamera volume met a monthly peak in April 2012, when 868 were sold. The Macan has surpassed that peak in three of its four months on the market. Yes, it’s been helped along by a much lower sticker price than the Panamera, but also by its bodystyle.

This isn’t just something we’re seeing at Porsche, nor is it a trend we see only with oddly-styled large hatchbacks and especially sporty small crossovers. By recent standards, Mercedes-Benz USA will report particularly strong S-Class sales this year, but the current pace suggests at least a 25% decline compared with 2006 levels. Yes, 2006, the year Mercedes-Benz USA sold their first 18,776 GLs to go along with nearly 31,000 S-Classes. Over the last three years, Mercedes-Benz has averaged 27,000 GL sales per year in the U.S., the kind of number they haven’t achieved with the S-Class since 2007.

BMW will sell less than half the number of 7-Series sedans this year than they did in 2003 while likely selling close to 110,000 total SAVs, around 2.5 times the number of X5s sold in 2003. Tata’s JLR? 60% of Jaguar-Land Rover’s volume in 2002 was Jaguar-derived, now it’s 77% Land Rover.

No matter which data point you use, it’s remarkably easy to see that the Macan went from non-existence to Porsche USA’s deuteragonist in the matter of one summer. It’s perhaps easier to see that big luxury cars are quickly being pushed to the sidelines, while the Macan and its more common premium cohorts move in on their territory.

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68 Comments on “More Evidence That The Macan Is Taking Over Porsche...”


  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    Porsche? Are they still around? I remember them. They had “2014 Verano Turbo performance” back in 1970s and 1980s, albeit with much more noise and less reliability. Back when nobody else could do that performance for a price affordable to trust-fund children.

    Fast forward to today. Performance-with-value abounds. So today, Porsche is now relegated to this niche of Saturday Night Live/ Chevy Chase-Era population segments, who nostalgically still think Porsche still means something significant and rare.

    Well… Hi Porsche, meet Volvo, meet SAAB, meet …

    • 0 avatar
      Vega

      Wow, I seldom read a less informed comment. And in contrast to your illusions Porsche is not only selling more cars in total than ever in its history (US 2013 over 42,000, globally over 162,000), but also selling more 911s than ever. Over 30,000 in 2013.

      Also, given you seem to measure ‘performance’ in a straight line only (judging from your Verano comment), you probably never understood Porsche’s success in the 1970s either. Throughout the history of Porsche, there were cars that offered bigger numbers for a smaller price. This has never kept Porsche from succeeding…

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    However in the eyes of enthusiasts Porsche will continue to make a macan-ery of itself.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    I am quite surprised that the Panamera sells in such low numbers. I see them all the time. Still, if this is what the market wants, so be it. It allows for the existence of the 911.

  • avatar

    Germans prove to be great marketeers, with a far better feel for the U.S. luxury car market than any American brand. Last time I looked, they owned practically half of the luxury market. More and more Americans have difficulty getting inside low-riding sports cars – the reason why Porsche came up with the Cayenne and Macan. One out of every three Americans is now considered to be obese.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      The P demographics are much less afflicted by obesity than the population in general. Of course, the stereotypical Type A P owner, no matter how skinny, is nowadays being shoehorned into hipster jeans at least a size too small, leaving your observation about entry into low sling cars intact regardless….

      Another big reason for MUV (Mall utility vehicles)’ popularity, is that the buying decision is in practice being made by women. Who overwhelmingly prefer crossovers, and equally overwhelmingly restrict their driving to trips where crossovers make more sense than sedans.

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        “Who overwhelmingly prefer crossovers, and equally overwhelmingly restrict their driving to trips where crossovers make more sense than sedans.”

        Importantly perceptive. Yay Women! Yay CUVs!

        A world of metal eggs ferrying Mommys around. Freud and I would both go for that!

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        MUV perfect! I’m using that from now on.

        And yes I agree this is clearly a women thing. Women love this class of vehicle because they feel “safe” with higher driving position, AWD, easy loading, room for kids, etc., etc. Think of all former wagons and mini-vans, aka Mommy Mobiles, people still need that funcationality but today is comes in a CUVs wrapper. No wonder companies are setting sales records with this class vehicle. So Porsche isn’t stupid, if you make it they will come. And if you make an CUV they beat a path to your door!

        As mentioned Audi, BMW and Mercedes all offer CUVs so why not. The money is going to be spent regardless. Personally I hate it, if all was right in the world Porsche would only build 911s (turbos too) but those days are long gone.

  • avatar
    RHD

    Nice, informative analysis. (If any of the B&b aren’t familiar with the definition of “deuteragonist”, look it up… or forever play second fiddle to those who do!)

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Good for Porsche, and good for customers. If an SAV fits the needs of the market, build more of them. That hasn’t affected their sports car line in any negative way… I am pretty sure Porsche is selling more sports cars than ever, which is a good thing.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      It will affect their sports cars negatively if they ever start parts sharing. The 911/Box/Cay interiors are already a bit Panameric, which is fine by me since the Pan is as much a 4 door GT as a Sedan. But thee now exists a fairly open conduit through which components and solutions optimized for crossovers, can start sneaking their way into the sports line. The most obvious tell that the party’s over, will be that the entry level turbo 4 in the Box/Cay is not unique to them (as in, an I instead of flat), but rather some generic appliance.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      SAV = Suburban Asphalt Vehicle

      VW Tiguan

      VW Tiguan + different interior & motors = Audi Q5

      Audi Q5 + different interior & motors = Porsche Macan

      There is no substitute.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Or a slightly different interpretation – the MUCH cheaper car outsells the MUCH more expensive (and really rather ugly) one, and the more expensive impractical 2-seaters. Which surprises no one ever. The Macan is a practical way to get a nice driving vehicle with a Porsche badge in the driveway, so it sells.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    I guess I understand big luxobarges and snooty driver’s cars, but this thing seems as necessary as a Lamborghini lawnmower. What can the essence of Porscheness confer to a CUV?

    • 0 avatar
      kosmo

      Well, having ridden in both, all I can say is the Macan is a bit better feeling version of the Audi SQ5, for a bit more money (comparably equipped).

      And it’s MUCH better looking.

      CUVs are just the modern day equivalent of a 70s station wagon, plus a bit of ground clearance. Nothing wrong with that.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Except back in the 70’s you didn’t see Porsche building huge wood-trimmed station wagons to bank off a fad, nor Lamborghini or BMW.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “CUVs are just the modern day equivalent of a 70s station wagon, plus a bit of ground clearance.”

        I would agree with you, except that with the old station wagon you could at least fit an entire sheet of plywood in the back, flat–admittedly with the tailgate down, something you can’t do in ANY CUV today. You can’t even do that in the typical SUV–except for a few of the largest. And while I admit I’m no fan of full-sized pickup trucks (much bigger than necessary), remember you only need a load floor 48.5″ wide and 72″ long. (It would also help if tailgates again dropped down instead of rising up.) Almost no modern CUV gives you that much flat space.

        But since this article is about Porsches, the utility factor is effectively moot. Porsche is living on its caché of being a performance brand first, with a level of luxury not normally associated with performance. In its way, the new Porsche models are aimed as direct competitors to the classic luxury/performance of the Maserati brand–though Maserati was a luxury car with performance chops and effectively the exact opposite of Porsche. With this in mind, Porsche still has a level of exclusivity not offered by any other brand here in the US and that’s at least part of why it is seeing growth.

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          Thanks for the image of a Porsche owner wandering in the lumber area of Home Depot.

          “Oooh… it smells so nice here!”

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            I was going to say “When’s the last time I loaded a 4×8 in my wagon/CUV? Never?”.

            I did buy 8 sheets of plywood 8 years ago during hurricane preparations. I borrowed my FIL pickup, or if that wasn’t available I would have paid the $30 to rent the Home Depot truck for an hour.

            FTR, I couldn’t imagine a 1975 Country Squire fitting comfortably in my circa-2000 garage….

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          That’s exactly the point, Dave; the modern “Crossover Utility Vehicle” has absolutely NOTHING to do with utility, they’re nothing but 5-door hatchback sedans blown up like a bubble to offer a more comfortable riding experience. Adding the “utility vehicle” label to “crossover” is a lie. But more interestingly, about halfway through my ownership of a Saturn Vue (which really IS a utility vehicle) my insurance company relabeled it not as an SUV but as a Sport Utility WAGON and reduced the insurance rate on it. Thing is, it still carried the “Sport” label and its performance and handling bore it out as it was both quick for its size and remarkably agile.

          So calling the Macan a CUV is mis-labeling it’s real design as a family performance vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I have a Forester, a CUV by pretty much anyone’s definition. I carried two sheets of plywood in it (sticking out the tailgate) last week.

          Granted, you couldn’t do that in a Macan. Boxy beats egg-shaped every time.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Forester qualifies as an SUV by its squared-off shapes. More ‘truck-like’ in appearance. I think you do manage a good 6 feet of flat load floor as well.

          • 0 avatar
            Turbolove

            I see Edmunds picture of an o bottle pouch for the Mac an long termed. Though they said they have not had to use it I do k.ow you maybe a quart low with Subaru class action suit brought upon oil consumption between changes. My girlfriend 2012 Forester will go almost 2 quarts low with no warning.

            So at 3,500 miles I’m the low oil level warning, telling her to go bug Subaru for a quart of synthetic 2w20. She is not using my stash of oil through next October when the lease is up.

    • 0 avatar
      ...m...

      …agricultural vehicles and SUVs are both long-established legacies at lamborghini…

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      You do realize that Lamborghini’s primary product was farm equipment, right? The cars were a side business. So there are PLENTY of Lamborghini lawn mowers around. I assume, but don’t know, that VAG only bought the car business.

      Example:
      http://www.hobbyfarms.com/images/hobby-farm-tools-equipment/lamborghini-1_255.jpg

      I see nothing wrong with a CUV that drives like a Porsche. It would be better if it was a few inches lower, but that is not what the market currently wants. So be it.

    • 0 avatar
      spreadsheet monkey

      “What can the essence of Porscheness confer to a CUV?” How about strong performance, a 911-esque front end, and a Porsche key fob. That seems to be enough for 31,000 customers.

      Turning your question on its head, what can the essence of Buickness bring to an SUV? What can the essence of Lincolnness bring to an SUV?

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        I agree, no luxury or semi-luxury branding can add anything that interests me to the already brimming excelence of S/CUVs provided by the <30K crowd.

        Oh, wait… ask Norm about Buick.

  • avatar

    A few years back, I went to a BMW //M Power promotion. We were invited to drive from the //M line, so I drove the 3 and the (M) X5. The presenter was quite clear “We made this truck because many of our best customers had another German brand truck in the garage. We saw no reason to leave them the money when our customers would buy our truck”. We did make sure it would meet every performance parameter of the M3, however.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      If nothing else, the stereotypical shallowness of Bimmermen, is well reflected at the Motor Werke itself. “Every performance parameter of the M3” my tail end…. Put the two through some off camber chicanes and see how each fares. Or, just weigh the darned things. About par for a world where “everyone is better off now” because some trumped up, synthetic, largely nonsensical measure of supposed “real” economic activity can be tweaked to read higher than back when everyone had two small blocks in the driveway, and not just an Ipad on which to watch Stig driving one…

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        “Two small blocks in the driveway”

        You mean the ’70s small-blocks that made two-thirds the power of today’s long-stroke NA fours? Or the ’60s versions that made Los Angeles look like my doctor’s fishtank when he forgets to clean it for a month?

  • avatar
    Stovebolt

    Does “German marketing” involve torturing us with senseless names that no one can pronounce?

    Merkur started it (sold with Mercurys, but said differently). Volkswagen specializes (Tiguan, etc.), and now Porsche. Macan? Is that bird, a place in Asia, or what?

    I for one have had enough of it.

    • 0 avatar
      ...m...

      …what’s so difficult to pronounce about XR4Ti?..just like it’s spelled: “zratty”…

    • 0 avatar
      bkmurph

      I don’t know what a Macan is, but it’s a more distinctive and memorable name than, I dunno, PDKxdieseldriveturbo30i<3. I'll take it.

    • 0 avatar
      LeeK

      Copyrighting the name for a new vehicle is a remarkably difficult and expensive proposition. Suppose you’re CarCo and want to name your new 3-series fighter “Lion”. Well, guess how many products are named Lion in the world? Answer: a lot. So, rather than procuring the rights of the name (paying off other companies, signing documents with non-compete assurances) in every single country you wish to sell in, it’s a lot easier to just make up a name, like Altezza or MKZ or Q50. You still have to have your attorneys check to see if those letter and number combinations are already taken, but the chances are they are far fewer than Lion.

      So, the Macan is what we get. Otherwise it would have been a Porsche Lion, or more likely a Porsche Lowe.

  • avatar
    TybeeJim

    Given the US’ love for SUVs in general, I fully expect the Macan to quickly become the sales leader for Porsche. It looks “right” has some utility is reasonably fast and handles beyond expectation. That and the Porsche badge on the hood will move it to the top if Porsche quality is maintained. And it will have one competitor in Mercedes with the CLA AMG45 SUV that just hit the streets. It remains to be seen if Audi will do a Q5 of more similar style when they too start to use the new chassis. Heck, even the SQ5, while not quite as fast/handler is a less expensive alternative. But the machine will soon be the top selling Porsche, period.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    I love the Panamera and the cars that are similar: Model S, FF, A7, Quattroporte etc. If money were no object to me, the Panamera would be the car in my driveway. Ruess stated he wants to bring a Panamera type flagship to Buick, I swore I’d never own another Buick, but if their flagship actually comes out and is a full sized GT style car, I will reconsider.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    honestly the panamera is not a pretty car!
    i still see lots around richmond /ditchmond bc
    vancouver.

    • 0 avatar
      MK

      Hah! My feelings exactly! I see quite a few of them too and its just one of those cars that’s never grown on me.

      I feel kinda sorry for the people who buy them, it’s probably the ugliest car Porsche has built. Even the cayenne has better proportions.

      If you’re going to buy a status symbol, at least get a nice looking one.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    CUVs shall rule the world, center of gravity be damned!

    Porsche Macan.

    Maserati Maraschino.

    Bentley Bordello.

    Ferrari Fever.

    Lamborghini Llama.

    Rolls Royce Romania (name & place of assembly).

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Nothing (in the automotive world) is sadder than luxury cars on their 4th-5th owner. Rust, dents, overall rolling slovenliness make a well used luxury a parody of its new self. Will the BHPH availibility of these hoopties effect the desirability of a new one?

  • avatar
    dancote

    I’ll admit it. I have a 2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara, top-of-the-line, Luxury model SUV. Less than 44,000 miles. It’s paid for. I still have a local dealership to service it. And it does everything I need it to do. I even believe it’s better looking than almost every othe car in its class.

    Who, in they’re right mind, is willing to spend $50K to $ridiculously more, for any SUV/CUV/AUV/MUV? Gonna take it off-road with any semblance of capability? Gonna take it racing? Against who exactly? Poseurs, all IMHO,

    For automotive fun, I drive a Fiat 500 Abarth. I also ride a Can-Am Spider trike. Both of these together cost less than the “entry-level” Macan.

    Of course, I’m not a member of the 1%. I sincerely hope that, if I were, I would still make practical/sensible choices of what to spend my money on.

    Having laid my soul bare, if I were ever to win the Lotto, there would be an NSX in my driveway. (At 71, I don’t know how I would get into or out of it … but I would have it.)

    Maybe those folks with way too much disposable income have it right.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I’m not a huge fan of automatic pseudo-wagons, but I’ve seen a couple pretty favorable reviews of this car in the European press. Just as the Jeep CUV’s were pegged here as the most off-road capable in their class, the Porsche’s seem to be achieving “most sporting” pretty consistently. It’s not like they’ve branched out into the flat front diesel commercial vehicle segment or anything.

    Just in case Porsche is reading…if it came with a manual my wife would veto my wagon preference and make it hers.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    So is this thing an SUV or a CUV?

    And is it an informal consensus based on size that decides that?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      The line between SUV (RWD-based 4WD, BOF) and CUV (FWD-based AWD, unibody) has really been blurred in recent years, partially due to the supplanting of most true SUVs (Explorer, Pathfinder, etc.) with CUV models, and partially due to the proliferation of European models sold as “SUVs” that have 50/50 AWD and unibody construction, but have decent off-road chops. It’s not a size thing, but it should be noted that there are almost no compact or midsize SUVs left in the US market. I can think of…the Xterra, the 4Runner, the Land Cruiser and its Lexus sibling the GX, the Grand Cherokee and, of course, the Wrangler. And the Wrangler really isn’t an SUV–it’s a _Jeep_.

      I’d say the Macan and Cayenne are both CUVs.

      • 0 avatar

        The LX and the Land Cruiser aren’t really mid-sized. Neither is the LR4, which uses a unibody/ladder-frame hybrid. But don’t forget about the exorbitantly-priced Geländewagen (G-Class), which is as much of a truck as they come.

        I think the sweet spot for me *is* the category of crossovers that are mainly RWD-based, but are fairly rugged and have “decent off-road chops”, as you put it. That would be the X5, M-Class, Touareg, Q7, Range Rover Sport, Grand Cherokee Overland, Durango Citadel, and yes, the Cayenne. I don’t know about the current MDX, but the previous one would also fit into that category. I’d love to see Cadillac field an entry in that segment, because it would probably go a long way in helping the brand’s perception…

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          I count the Durango as a full-size and the Grand Cherokee as a mid-size because the former is a lengthened version of the latter, but maybe I shouldn’t because that would mean the Chevy Trailblazer EXT, GMC Envoy XL and XUV, and Isuzu Ascender are all full-size by the same distinction.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      I’m inclined to be in the BOF truck platform = SUV/ monocoque car platform = CUV camp, which would make this a crossover. But there is no firm definition of this.

      In their most generic form, they can all be referred to as SUVs, although not all of them can be referred to as crossovers. (All poodles are dogs, but not all dogs are poodles.)

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Having just played around with the Macan configurator on Porsches website, I have to give them a big thumbs up for one thing – you can get a factory installed trailer hitch and trailer wiring. Not even all that expensive an option. I could not find the tow rating though.

    Edit – found it – 4400lbs!

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    Porsche badge-engineering at its best. I don’t really care, since the mid-size platform of the A6 is old as shit and not worth a mid-size vehicle with a Porsche badge.

    The way to think of Porsche as BMW about 20 years ago. They will steadily move mass/downmarket, piss away their brand equity, and eventually journos will be comparing someone else’s sportscar to the 911 and it won’t be an automatic win for Porsche.

    • 0 avatar

      COTD?

    • 0 avatar
      Vega

      BMW moved downmarket 20 years ago? My grandfathers 1983 E21 315 (75hp!) begs to differ. Also, they haven’t pissed away their brand equity, the company has never been more successful than today. They are still able to demand price premiums towards lesser brands in any market they compete. From Minis to arguably the technologically most advanced competitor for the 911.

      Apart from gearheads who never want BMW to sell anything other than I6 RWD sedans (but are not BMW customer anyway), most industry experts understand that you have to offer a far wider array of products nowadays in order to generate the volumes needed for survival.

  • avatar
    marjanmm

    ” Total new vehicle sales are up 5% in the United States in 2014. Porsche USA volume is up 12%.”

    But how much are the luxury car sales up? Since the total sales this year will be on the pre recession levels, can you do an article comparing luxury sales in US before the recession and this year? I suspect it may have increased more relative to non luxury makes.

  • avatar
    robc123

    It must be difficult for car manufacturers to figure out what people want. Go by this crowd here and its all manuals, and 2 door sports cars and DIY. Or brown hot rodded euro station wagons.

    Whereas what actually sells is automatic, giant, bloated, plastic safe SUVs with zero driving feel for a demographic that is supposed to be shrinking (families).

    Most people buy and like shit trucks, shit driving experience, and when a “premium” manufacturer makes bloated shit trucks then they get sucked into that huge market and get to also trade off their name. All this stuff is 3 yr leases its not meant for 5-10 yr ownership.


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