Since the introduction of the 912 model in 1965, Porsche's best selling models have always been their entry level positioned cars. For a number of years, the 912 outsold the 911, some years even at a rate of 2 to 1. The 914 was Porsche's best selling model through the 1970s, that is until the introduction of the 924. Then, the 944 carried that theme through to the early 1990s. The Boxster sold and continues to sell gobs of units, in fact, some say it saved the company from insolvency. So a few weeks ago, when Detlev Von Platen said "Our entry model is our pre-owned program", a few people thought he'd lost it, including our own Andrew Granieri.
It's a good thing we have a whole bunch of writers here at FLATSIXES.com, because I'm going to provide the Dan Aykroyd opinion to Andrew's Jane Curtin. Here it comes,
'Point Counterpoint'. The following is a reflection of my opinion on why Porsche should NOT be offering a sub-Boxster sports car, and why their entry model strategy utilizing their pre-owned line-up is spot on.
The Boxster is still an entry level Porsche.
My 1997 Porsche Boxster was initially sold at a price of almost exactly $40,000 with very few options. Today's base model Boxster has an MSRP of $51,400. If you were to extrapolate out the 1997's MSRP in today's dollars, you'd get a surprising $58,776. With the current value of the dollar versus the Euro, and the rate of inflation taken into consideration, buying a new Boxster today is about seven thousand dollars less expensive, and I'll be the first to admit that you get a MUCH better car for that money outlay. Today's Boxster is more powerful, more comfortable, more attractive (subjective) and more capable than that first 1997 model introduction. People who can afford a base Boxster will be impressed with its performance, and hopefully aspire to own a 911 or even a 918 in the future.
Does Porsche really need a sub-Boxster sports car?
Does it really make any business sense for Porsche to make a sports car at, say a $40,000 price point? With the Boxster priced only eleven-thousand dollars more, would a model in this price point be different enough to avoid sales cannibalization? What would a car at $40K be like? In order to maintain Porsche's current levels of profitability on a model like that, they'd likely be forced to crib a lot of parts from its Volkswagen and Audi brother parts bins, which Porsche owners have always lamented. The car would have to be less powerful than a base Boxster, putting it somewhere around 200 horsepower. The car would have to be smaller and lighter, for sure. So now that we have an idea what this kind of car would be like, we have to consider what it would compete against. Lightweight sports cars with 200 horsepower? That sounds an awful lot like a Scion FRS/Subaru BRZ, and this hypothetical Porsche would certainly be compared directly against these cars, which start around $25,000. And that isn't even to mention turbocharged front-wheel drive hot-hatches with even more power, like Volkswagen's GTi, and Ford's ST twins.
Is VW/Audi suppressing the sub-Boxster?
If you think about it, Porsche being an integral part of the Volkswagen and Audi group is an important piece of the equation. Consider for a second where a $40,000 Porsche sports car would sit in their corporate lineup. This pricepoint would place it in direct competition against Audi's TT sports coupe, which starts right at $40,350. Surely the powers that be wouldn't want that kind of corporate in-fighting going on, would they? And that's to say nothing of Audi's S3 Sport Sedan, which delivers near on 300 horsepower for that same price point (technically $41,100).
Pre-Owned Cars are a great way to buy into the Porsche lineup.
I've been a Porsche-holic for over a decade, and all of my Porsches have been used. There are a ton of great cars out there from Porsche's history that can't even be found in dealership showrooms anymore. If you're looking for a cheaper, lighter, less-powerful sports car than Porsche's current base model Boxster, maybe check out a 986 generation model. Boy are they inexpensive right now. They've reached the bottom of their depreciation curve, and they are still engaging and fun to drive. If you're looking for something with a warranty and financing options, check out some of Porsche's Certified Pre-Owned models. You can get a CPO 987 Cayman S for about thirty-five grand these days, which is excellent value considering it was over 60 grand brand new. Boxster S models can even be bought for a few thousand dollars less than their tin-top brothers.
When it comes right down to it, Porsche can hardly keep up with demand for their cars as it is, so do they really need to introduce yet another new model? It seems like they are doing a great job of that with their current lineup.
Other Porsche Blog Posts You Will Enjoy
4 Reasons The Porsche 918 Spyder Uses A Top Pipe Exhaust Design
Is Porsche’s New Entry Model Strategy A Huge Gamble?
Why Porsche Should Revive the Front Engine Sports Coupe
This POLO Engined 912 Out-911s The 911
Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance To Honor The Porsche 914