Porsche: “No matter what, we build sports cars.” Or not.
Not that it didn't contradict a couple of years of excitement-generating, headline-making news reports, but was anyone really surprised when Porsche announced that it would not sell a popularly priced sports car, the one it was for the last three years officially rumored to be developing for joint use with Volkswagen and Audi?
Porsche is in the middle stages of a full-on image recalibration, from focused maker of first-quality sports cars to all-purpose purveyor of big, expensive, and too often nasty things. So a reminder that a cheaper, smaller, fine-handling model -- to introduce younger, more broke and more frugal citizens to the brand and into the sports car fold -- does not appeal to current management ought hardly be a revelation.
"To build a Porsche for 30,000 euros [$37,800 at current exchange rates] currently doesn't fit our brand," Bernhard Maier, the company's head of sales and marketing and a Porsche board member, told an Automotive News convention in Monaco the other week, adding, "The extraordinary purchase experience is not for free and the entry price [level] is currently covered with the Boxster and in the future by the Macan." As if $45,000-50,000 (loaded, the way you know any $38,000 Porsche would come,) was something akin to free.
Finally, of course there is the imminent arrival of the incredible 918 Spyder, which promises to be a technological tour de force, a hyper-costly (estimated $845,000, to start) showpiece for lightweight materials. The world's fastest hybrid, it will still tip the scales, however, at more than 3300 lbs., meaning it will still somehow manage to weigh more than a 911 or even a Cadillac ATS. Not that I'd throw one out of bed for eating crackers.