Porsche vs. the original competition
Well I just read about how well Porsche is doing in the marketplace and it seems that for its investors it’s doing great this year. But for all of us supercar fans this is just another thing that shows how Porsche is becoming less of a sports car manufacture and more of a mainstream one. Sure high sales of highly profitable cars is great for your bottom end, but really how far can you go before you water down your product line. Unlike the competition Porsche is slowing heading down a street which is only one way, as they are only after profits now and are slowly losing their credibility as a sports car manufacture.
Unlike the competition who have chosen to stay their true course, Porsche has taken a course less traveled by the competition. Sure it is working for them, but it is tainting their image and bringing down their credibility. As Lamborghini, Ferrari and Aston Martin are just now releasing their take on the SUV/CUV craze, Porsche has been watering down this field for over a decade. But unlike Porsche, the competition is treading lightly as they don’t want to diminish their brand image with watered down profit chasing models.
This may seem odd as most manufactures would love to jump into the high profit segments of the industry, but that is what companies like Lamborghini, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lotus, McLaren and Koeingsegg are all about. Sure it would help prop up their bottom line helping them to create better high performance models, but at what cost to your brand image.
We all know that Lamborghini, Lotus and Aston Martin have all been down this road before, but all of these companies did it with great ease to their main product lines. Lamborghini created the LM002 initially for a military contract. But when they didn’t win they decided to make back their money with a limited run of the model in select markets. Doing this didn’t harm the image of Lamborghini or its products and helped to add a bit more desire to the brand as the model was only a limited time model.
Lotus worked with both Opel / Vauxhall on a select sedan to help both companies bottom line. Along with this they do have done special Lotus editions of Talbot-Sunbeam, Ford and Proton models. Both partnerships helped garner more sales for both companies and brought a bit more money to Lotus for its product line. But since it was done in a partnership, it did not taint the image of Lotus as much. Sure it did bring down some of the brand image as Talbot-Sunbeam and Proton didn’t make the best cars and the Opel/Vauxhall partnership didn’t really boost a faltering Lotus’s image. But the Ford partnership did help its entry into the American market.
Now as for Aston Martin, they have both entered into the sedan and soon the CUV market. But they have utilized the Lagonda nameplate before to help differentiate the sports car brand from the then sedans. This helped boost sales to the sports car division without damaging the brands image. But as for the new Rapide and DBX, they are both set to utilize the A.M. name, but have both been set a low production volumes. This is so that they don’t taint their brand image and it will help make the vehicles more desirable. Sure the Rapide brings down the image a bit, but when your main market is Grand Touring models, its hard to taint that image with a GT Saloon. Their tainting was only partially done with the introduction of the Toyota IQ based Cygnet. But again Aston Martin was smart and only sold this model in limited numbers to a select few customers who had requested such a model. Sure it hurts the overall image of A.M. for a short time, but it's limited production quantity makes it a worthy collector item.
So it seems that many companies before them have entered into the markets in which Porsche is already in. But its the volume and platforms that Porsche utilizes that brings down their brands image. Sure utilizing another divisions platform for your offering is a great way to bring down costs, but really is there much of difference in product perception between the Macan and Tiguan. Well one is a bit more sporty and has the heritage of the 911 behind it, but besides that, that’s all the Macan has going for it. And that could be why my boss’s wife doesn’t like it when I tell her she brought her Tiguan to work today. I always get the “No its a Porsche” response, but really its just a sported up Tiguan.
Now if you want to make money then keep up the work Porsche, but if you want us to still believe you’re a true sports car company. Then drop some of your product offerings or at least give them a different brand name. It’s hard to see the Boxster/Cayman as anything more than a gussied up Beetle even if it has its own under carriage. Sure it maybe it’s own product offering, but when you sell more than 63,000 models in 3 months, its hard to believe that I won’t find another one in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Sorry Porsche, it’s time to stop labeling yourself as a competitor to Ferrari and Lamborghini, and more of a competitor to Maserati, M-Sports Line and AMG.
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