Porsche Figures a Subscription/Leasing Plan Just Might Discourage Flippers

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Ultra-rare automobiles have a tendency to be scooped up by speculators hoping to turn a buck. Manufacturers hate this, as they see none of that sweet, secondhand scratch — plus, the vehicles frequently end up as garage queens tucked away from the public eye. While a bit of a grimy move, it’s easy to understand why someone might be willing to fall from a manufacturer’s good graces so they can flip an already expensive automobile for several times what they paid.

Automakers have come up with interesting ways to circumvent the problem, often establishing hard limits on when a customer can resell a particularly in-demand model, but it never manages to stop it from happening entirely. However, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume thinks he has a novel solution — one that we’re a bit torn on.

According to a recent interview with Autocar, Blume believes a subscription model could be affixed to limited-run models as a way to stop customers from flipping its more collectable offerings. “Our interest is to sell cars for drivers, not dealers,” said Blume. “We put so much love into them, with the goal of people driving them not to put them in a garage.”

While this strategy seems like it would work as intended, it would also set an odd precedent. A subscription-only path seems a little daft. We’re sure there are a great number of wealthy Porsche fans that just want to drive, but speculators are a big part of why the company can ask for so much on its rarer models.

Still, we’re willing to admit to a slight bias against subscription plans in general — at least in their current form. At present, most plans result in a higher monthly fee than leasing with insufficient perks to rationalize their inflated price. But Blume never explained exactly how the plan would work, while also mentioned the possibility of leasing — which we think makes better sense overall.

“One thing we could do is look at leasing models to try to avoid this kind of dealing, so the car doesn’t get sold on for a period of time,” he said. “It is one solution.”

While it’s easy to accuse Porsche of trying to hunt for a new way of lining its pockets, we don’t think that’s all there is to this. The brand likes to present itself as the nameplate for drivers, not wealthy collectors who see cars primarily as investments — though there’s plenty of that, too. Flipping has gotten out of hand over the past few years; the company doesn’t want its image warped any further. If it can score a few extra bucks in the process of finding a remedy, all the better.

[Images: Porsche]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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2 of 14 comments
  • TheBrandler TheBrandler on Mar 29, 2019

    A socialist complaining about capitalism - what else is new? Make enough for the demand and you won't have a flourishing secondary market.

  • SilverCoupe SilverCoupe on Mar 29, 2019

    Leases are based on the difference between the beginning value of a vehicle and the residual value at the end of the lease. If a vehicle is worth more at the end of the lease, wouldn't the lease cost be negative, i.e., they have to pay you to own it?

  • DS No for 2 reasons. 1-Every new car pipelines data back to the manufacturer; I don't like it with domestic, Japanese and Euro companies and won't put up with it going to Chinese companies that are part financed by their government. 2-People have already mentioned Vinfast, but there's also the case of Hyundai. Their cars were absolutely miserable for years before they learned enough about the US market
  • Theflyersfan Well, if you're on a Samsung phone, (noticing all of the shipping boxes are half Vietnamese), you're using a Vietnam-built phone. Apple? Most of ours in the warehouse say China, but they are trying to spread out to other countries because putting all eggs in the Chinese basket right now is not wise. I'm asking Apple users here (the point of above) - if you're OK using an expensive iPhone, where is your Made in China line in the sand? Can't stress this enough - not being confrontational. I am curious, that's all. Is it because Apple is California-based that manufacturing location doesn't matter, vs a company in a Beijing skyscraper? We have all weekend to hopefully have a civil discussion about how much is too much when it comes to supporting companies being HQ-ed in adversarial countries. I, for one, can't pull the trigger on a Chinese car. All kinds of reasons - political, human rights, war mongering and land grabbing - my morality is ruling my decisions with them.
  • Jbltg Ford AND VAG. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Leonard Ostrander We own a 2017 Buick Envision built in China. It has been very reliable and meets our needs perfectly. Of course Henry Ford was a fervent anti-semite and staunch nazi sympathizer so that rules out Ford products.
  • Ravenuer I would not.