By on May 30, 2017

2018 Porsche 911 GT3, Image: Porsche

The secondhand market for sporting automobiles is a bubbling cauldron of volatility with one assurance — rarer is always better. Being racy doesn’t hurt resale value, either. That’s why track-focused manual transmission Ferraris go for an exorbitant premium on the secondhand market against their more casual counterparts. It’s also why certain the versions of the 911 can be resold at over double their original MSRP. But Porsche, like many high-end performance manufacturers, is getting sick of customers purchasing their vehicles for the sole purpose of flipping them.

The German automaker says it’s extremely aware of what is going on in the secondhand market and actively wants to take steps to crack down on for-profit flipping. It has also, perhaps inadvertently, made some headway already by bringing the 2018 911 GT3 to market with a manual transmission — potentially devaluing the manual-only 911 R. This has annoyed some capitalists hoping to resell the R at triple its original value. To that Andreas Preuninger, head of Porsche’s GT division,  says “we’re not a hedge fund.” 

Preuninger told Car and Driver he believes his company builds cars to be driven, not held onto for financial gain. “I personally like to see my cars being used. That’s what we build them for. They are just too good to be left to stand and collect dust,” he said at the launch of the new 911 GT3.

“I don’t like this business of people buying our cars to make money on them. That was never our intention. The purpose of limiting a car is not for it to gain value. We don’t want to be laying money on each car’s roof when they run out of the factory.”

The mere fact that the manual 911 R was going for so much was evidence enough of the clear demand for a GT3 without flappy paddles, according to Preuninger. Screwing potential flippers is just an added bonus.

“When I said we’re not a hedge fund, I’m talking to those people who are yelling at us for offering the manual transmission similar to the R,” he said. “But if there are people wanting to buy cars like that, then as a company we should try to fulfill that, to meet that demand.”

However, offering another model with a stick doesn’t eliminate the buy-to-sell practices Porsche is so bothered by. For that, the brand is taking a more direct approach.

“We are monitoring very closely who is flipping cars,” Preuninger explained. “We do not build too many cars and we know most of our customers well — we like to have a name for every car before we build it. If you’re flipping cars, then I think it’s understandable that you won’t get on the list for the next car if we have more demand than supply.”

Porsche has to walk a fine line here. While garage-queen flippers don’t line up with the brand’s image, the carmaker needs to retain the intrinsic “specialness” of the GT models, which creates the incentive to store them for profit in the first place.

[Image: Porsche]

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22 Comments on “Flip This Porsche: Automaker Hopes to Stop Future Speculators...”

  • avatar

    Won’t see me shedding any tears anytime soon and while it might be crude the best thing I’ve ever heard on the topic is the saying ” not driving a car and keeping locked up in the garage is like saving your wife for the next guy “.

    Two things ( and they go hand in hand ) that I think are a scourge on the hobby are speculators and auctions and any effort to stymie either is a win in my book.

  • avatar

    “we’re not a hedge fund.”

    Considering the financial maneuvers of the Porsche/Piech family, that comment is, ahem, rich.

    Apparently Porsche thinks they’re the only ones allowed to make large profits from their cars. Considering that the company has been tagged with “the most profitable car company in the world” for the past decade or more, that’s also, ahem, rich.

    I also like how they tacitly admit there is a pecking order when it comes to their customers and limited edition cars, something done by most exoticar companies.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s an impossible task that they have and borderline illegal; once the cars hit the dealer lots, Porsche is no longer the owner.

      • 0 avatar

        They can however monitor who is doing it and stop offering them slots for future models. Ferrari already does this.

        • 0 avatar

          I asked one of the principals of the local Ferrari store whether or not it was true that you can’t buy a new Ferrari if you are a first time customer. Apparently, Ferrari wants you to demonstrate loyalty to the faith by offering up free will donations for five figure engine-out routine services before they’ll let you have the keys to something shiny and new from Maranello.

          The dealer smiled broadly and said, “Oh, that’s an urban legend,” and paused, “But you might have to wait a while for delivery,” his smile growing as he spoke.

  • avatar
    George B

    Annoy both German car purists and American muscle car collectors by converting fully depreciated 15 to 20 year old German RWD cars into LS V8 powered hot rods.

  • avatar

    So Porsche and Honda have one thing in common… the manual cars are worth more in the used market than the automatics. Who knew?

  • avatar

    If porche wants to stop flipping they should actualy sell, cars to people who want to buy them instead of restricting supply.

    2X I put deposits down at dealers for a 997gt3 twice then waited and was denied. Spent my money with Lotus instead.

    Right now you can spec a 991GT3 manual on the porche website for under 160K. Here’s how it will work in reality though, if you want to actualy buy one. The dealer will tell they have limited slots, they will put you on a list for their spececd cars, which will all be fully loaded bloatmobiles. Then when they get delivery the highest bidders will get a car. Thats what happened with the Gt4, then at the end they had a few sitting around because who really wanted a bloated loaded Gt4.

    The way it should work, you walk into a dealer, youre told sorry this years allocation sold out, but we can give you a slot for next year, just palce a deposit. You wait 6 or 12 months and get a car youre going to drive and keep.

    Good thing at least porche realizes there is a problem and looks to adress it. The simple solution is make enough cars. Or have a policy that no order with deposit will be refused even if there is a wait.
    Lastly if porche is really serious about drivers using cars drop the centrelocks wheels, anyone really using these cars is going to the track and centelocks suck.

    Meanwile I wouldnt hold my breath. There is areason Lotus is the last “authentic” drivers car left. They have close on zero brand cachet amomgst the hedge funders, so are devloped for and bought by drivers exclusively, kinda like what the 996gt3 was before those who knew nothing about driving heard a Gt3 was the one to have and porche expanded the bandwidth by making the 991 comfortable and with an AT..

    Some guy i know had to have a Gt3 rs because… I guess he had the excess bucks and it was the expensive cool one, then told me it sucked because the ride was terrible and it scraped over speed bumps. Thats porches customer. So how do they sell to the rest of us who maybe can scrape together the money for a superlative car to drive keep,

  • avatar

    Perhaps somebody should tell Trump before he goes on bashing Germany for its car export success. Can GM remotely say the same thing for any of its cars?

  • avatar

    “The purpose of limiting a car is not for it to gain value.”

    So what is the purpose of limiting a car?

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    It’s no wonder Porsche’s first attempt at being a hedge fund failed, these guys don’t seem to understand supply and demand. Make more cars or sell the ones you make at a higher price. This isn’t rocket science.

  • avatar

    None of this would be an issue if there were fewer idiots with a lot of cash willing to pay a huge premium on a already very expensive car just so they don’t have to wait a few months. Next year’s version is almost always going to be better and more widely available, and if it isn’t last years version will be available for well under sticker.

    I often wonder how many cars are purchased as investments and immediately locked in garages waiting for the day when the owner will be able to double his money. Instead the guy usually dies 30 years later and the dusty dried up cars are sold for way less than the total cost of purchase and 30 years of storage and insurance.

  • avatar

    Flippers ruin it for people who actually WANT the car… to have it and to drive it. And it’s not just Porsche… or even just cars. I can’t tell you how many cars I’ve lost out on over the past 5-10 years because it was bought by a flipper before I could get there… only to resurface a few days/weeks later for sale at a higher price. They don’t even transfer the title/registration into their name. No, it’s not illegal… and I get that they’re just trying to make a buck. I just don’t like it. Those with time & money on their hands can swoop in & scoop the cars worth having. Craigslist really displays this trend. I’ve seen resellers list the new, higher-priced ads even before the old ad is deleted. Re-selling appears to be quite lucrative.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually is illegal:

    • 0 avatar

      That’s curbstoning, and it is illegal in some states. Just flipping the car without registering means the seller didn’t pay any sales tax, so that’s illegal. And some states, like Ohio, place a limit on the number of vehicles an individual can sell in a year without having to get a dealer’s license. Good luck on enforcement though. Any time someone gives you a story about why their name isn’t on the title, it should set off alarms.

      All of these people have ruined the classic car market as well.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m curious, how is “selling things for their actual value” ruining the market?

        • 0 avatar

          You’re right, there’s never been an instance where investors cause the prices of some kind of property to spiral out of control in the manner of some sort of expanding bubble that’s destined to pop. But I’d hate to be the guy holding the papers when prices “crash” back to reality.

        • 0 avatar

          “Actual value” can mean a lot of things. But it is hard to justify the price of tulip bulbs at the height of the tulip bubble (or any bubble).

    • 0 avatar

      They are taking advantage of an artificial supply shortage created by the manufacturer. The flipper is not the problem. It’s the ill-informed people at the manufacturers who think they can ignore key market demographics without suffering damage to their brand.

  • avatar

    To be frank, if they weren’t smart enough to see this problem developing a decade ago, they aren’t smart enough to fix it. Only a band of detached ideological engineers could convince themselves that they can command the market by restricting the supply of what people want. Enthusiasts are the people most willing to dedicate money to a vehicle, and they have very specific demands about the relationship between the driver and the car. If you do not meet those demands, bad things will happen.

    This is exactly how engineers ruined motorsport.

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