As a kid, I just loved Mr. Potato head. Take a big box of
body potato parts, choose from it what you will and then stick 'em in a different place or different configuration and BAM! you have a new and different (but not necessarily improved) variation each time. With the addition of the Porsche 911 GTS last week and the Porsche Carrera Speedster this week, you could argue that this is exactly what Porsche is doing. In fact, the number of 911 model variants now stands at 20. An increase of three (3) models in a week's time. That's right, 20 Porsche 911 variants (and that's just the US market).
While there's no doubt that Porsche will sell all 356 of the new Carrera Speedster, at what cost to brand perception? Reactions I've read have been mixed. Here are but a couple of the comments made on PorschePurist.
Regarding the Porsche Carrera Speedster
"The 2011 speedster is ridiculous. A fat arse styling exercise for a bloated price is not in the tradition of previous Speedsters at all. They were lighter and did not bear a premium price when offered. This offering is all about creating an artificial “classic”, but there is nothing inviting about it, except exclusivity. It’s a boutique car. No one will enthusiastically drive these automobiles, rather they will put them into storage, waiting for them to increase in value – to someone. I thought Porsches were supposed to be driver’s cars?"
Regarding the Porsche 911 GTS
"Really? Man up and get a GT3! This is fuel to the fire for the “Porsche has gone soft and watered the brand” argument. There are literally 22 flavors of 911s available for purchase — is this a Baskin Robbins or an automaker?
“I want speed, power, and motorsport-inspired handling capabilities"
Porsche: We have a car for that — get our GT3!
“But I like A/C and am utterly incapable of driving anywhere without a GPS.”
Porsche:… Okay, get a Carrera 4S
“THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH”
Porsche: The GTS!
What happened to “No Compromises” guys?"
Personally, I have no problem with either of the two new Porsches. And, even while I'm a bit confused for the need for the GTS, I do like the Speedster. The fact is, if the public doesn't like them, they won't buy them. It's that simple.
What do you think? Is Porsche going too far? Are there now too many Porsche 911 variants? Or, will Porsche continue to succeed as they have in the past, demonstrating that they know their market better than any blogger or automotive pundit ever could?
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