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Porsche gets a slating

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Simon W

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21 Jun 2003
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Is it just me, or is Porsche losing it a bit?
I love the marque – the only nice car I’ve ever owned was a 993 and not a day went by when I wasn’t excited to drive it.
But previously I’ve always considered Porsche to be up there with Ferrari and Lamborghini as a true supercar manufacturer.
Now I know that there are those on this site who take Porsche criticism very seriously, however I’m not trying to aggravate.
I just can’t help feeling a bit fleeced by a company that I used to really appreciate.
Porsche seem to have gone in exactly the opposite direction to Ferrari.
They are making ‘lifestyle’ products like 4x4’s and I’m sure we’re all agreed that they don’t build them like they did 10 years ago.
The cars are still fast and usable everyday, but so is a Mazda RX8 or Toyota Celica – and they have cup holders too.
I want Porsche to be building supercars, like the 993.
I’m not a huge air-cooled traditionalist, but Porsche meant something special at one point.
Now I think it’s turning out fast and capable mid-life crisis machines, wheras Ferrari have moved into a different league. If money was no object, who here would buy a 997 over a F430?
Am I the only person that thinks this?


Migration info. Legacy thread was 20933
 
I totally agree with you. This is what happens when accountants take over companies, sure they are more profitable but the products are barely adequate.

'Lets build an engine that may last 3 years if its not thrashed!'.


Migration info. Legacy thread was 20935
 
Well this isn't a fair comparison. A 997 costs you £65k a F430 costs you £110k, you have to wait for the high end 997's to arrive to be fair. Example the GT3RS compared to the 360CS, these are equal cars, and there is a £40k difference in price. Porsche has to build the standard 997's to make money to build the niche models, Ferrari have Fiat backing them up.

You say the 993 was built well, yeah but Porsche were loosing money on them all. They had to change to keep alive. Thus the Boxster was released and then the 996, the company became profitable. They now make the 4x4, but they had to go into another market to make money to keep going forward, and lets be honest the Cayenne is a fantastic machine. They built the Carrera GT which is probably the most useable supercar out there, I know a guy who uses his daily.

Porsche has evolved into a different company over the last 10 years, but there products are still at the front of the market. My only complaint with them is there are to many model variants (look how many differnt models there were in the 996 range) and they make to many cars. Porsche GB have to make sure they don;t get to greedy.

Just my thoughts.



Sean




Migration info. Legacy thread was 20937
 
Well Simon's sentiments are similar to mine - see what I've posted under
http://www.911uk.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=11&TopicID=2940&PagePosition=1
(re Porsche desirability) and in the 996 Engine Problems thread.

And FWIW, I've written this recently:

"
High volume output of profitably made cars is great for shareholders but not necessarily great for the brand if it no longer stands for what it once did and, more importantly, falls out of favour with customers who, through purchase loyalty and voluntary ambassadorship, helped it achieve almost legendary status.

"It doesn't take much perusal of discussion forums on the Web to suspect that Porsche reliability and build quality is no longer what it was. Modern Porsches are far less idiosynchratic, but are they just too fragile? The failures of water-cooled engine rear main seals and, more importantly, entire engines on 996 models are of particular concern. Yet one gets the impression that, rather than be anxious to remedy problems and save owners unreasonable, sometimes horrendous expense - and maintain its reputation and customer goodwill - Porsche, or at least Porsche Cars GB, is indifferent to the problems.
"Still, if you can still make good money from a largely non-enthusiast market of new customers, why worry about old ones? It's reassuring that quality reportedly has improved in the new 997 [and Boxster]. Let's hope that extends to bullet-proof mechanicals.
"But the quest for volume in pursuit of higher shareholder returns means that the marque is losing the attributes made it so special - unique in fact. The arrival of an SUV and, by all accounts, before long a four-door saloon does not bode well. Porsche is heading firmly into a new era as much more than a niche player in the global market place. Let's hope it can retain its charm and appeal for enthusiasts as well as satisfying investors."
I love my 993 though!

Migration info. Legacy thread was 20938
 
Hmmmm. I've got a few points.

The worlds most profitable car company - thats something to be admired, not knocked.

Comparisons to a Mazda RX8 ? Offer both to the "man in the street" and see which one he takes.

I agree that in some aspects Ferrari appear to be superior i.e their F1 style gearchange, but it appears that this is more a marketing exercise, as most car mags slate it for not really working properly and shortening the life expectancy of the clutch.

Porsche always has been more conservative and i think this will continue.

The only item that bothers me is that there is no Porsche involvment in a world level of Motorsport, but being as they are now earning some real money, maybe that will come in time and then we can have a F1 or similar aspect to our cars (not forgetting the Carbon Composite brakes).

As for not being a supercar maker - lets not forget all versions of the 911 Turbo.

Thats my 2p's worth, but i reserve the right to respond to further postings.




Migration info. Legacy thread was 20939
 
I accept Sean’s point about comparing like for like as well as the fact that Porsche are independent and not owned by a car making giant.
I’m also in total agreement that they make some incredible cars.
The RS, the turbos, the GT – all cars I would truly love to own myself.
It’s really about a feeling towards the brand.
Perception of the brand is part of the attraction for me, and I feel that with the arrival of models that are aimed squarely at the Chelsea Mum’s and or the hairdresser / ‘pink pound’ brigade - in particular the Cayenne, Porsche are moving too far away from their core business, which I believe is making supercars.
It’s a bit like watching Aled Jones in Strictly Come Dancing.
Almost likeable and harmless, but totally incongruous with the past.


Migration info. Legacy thread was 20940
 
I think the simplest way to view it is the way Fiat have split their brands - Fiat, Lancia, Ferrari and Maserati - all quite different, with different products, but essentialy the same company, sometimes sharing parts.

Would we prefer it if Porsche was part of VW, Skoda etc and sold its Not quite high enough performance products through these brands, for example , as a VW Tourag Turbo ? Boxster badged as as Seat ? That way they could only the true sports cars badged as a Porsche.

To me the fact that there is F- brand clothing everywhere somewhat cheapens the brand, not makes it special. Then again marketing people could see this as a sucess. To be fair, P does offer some dubious branded stuff, but it doesnt seem to sell that well..................


Migration info. Legacy thread was 20941
 
Guys

I have been reading the posts on this topic most intently as I have been saving for my dream car for some time now, a 911.

However, since I first started to put the money together I have tried various models and have become more than a little concerned regarding the build quality/durability versus profit margin equation that seems to exist!

It would appear that you either go for the older, better built, reliable, bullet proof 993 / 964 and put up with the poor driving position (for me at least 6 ft 3 plus long legs) and the older feel. Or you go for the modern 996 / 997 water cooled models and have the RMS that fails on a regular basis and an engine that can fail at 10K a throw !!!

Like many people I have always wanted a 911 and the only way I am likely to acheive it is by saving the money for it myself. I will therefore almost certainly go for a 993, I am aware that it is not perfect but I don't want or can aford the likelyhood of a regular £500 repair or a 10K engine replacement.

I do not want my lifelong desire of 911 ownership blighted by the companies search of ever increasing profit margins.






Migration info. Legacy thread was 20942
 
But if a company isnt profitable, then chances are it will go bust / or be taken over by a rival, then who knows what will happen. Rumour has it that in the early 90's, BMW was very interested in buying Porsche who were , as we all know, trading very poorly.

Lets not forget what BMW did to Rover (asset stripped it and basically threw it away).

Surely Porsache as it exists now is better than it not existing or existing as Rover does these days ?


Migration info. Legacy thread was 20943
 
Porsche is definitely better off existing rather than not, and I am happy for them to be profitable. I just don't believe that it is impossible for them to remain profitable whilst staying true to their craft. As Maxy M says, Porsche ensures the shareholders are happier than the punters. Although the punters for Porsche's current core product are now quite different to those of previous years.


Migration info. Legacy thread was 20944
 
Exactly Simon. A car company HAS to be profitable if it is to stay around - and note that a few of the BIG volume manufacturers are propped by their sales of related financial products; making cars for them is at best borderline profitable, at least for the moment.

So profitability is not a dirty word. And Porsche has been extremely successful.

The point is that all aspects of Porsche ownership, especially of the modern water-cooled models, is likely to change significantly - and probably for the worst. In fact, I suggest it's been happening with the 996 already. Let's see how real enthusiasts on a relatively limited budget, fare with them, especially as the 996 ages.

As I said before, I wish a) Porsche would invest in maintaining their competition heritage, and b) sacrificing some profit to preserve what hitherto has made the marque so special.


Migration info. Legacy thread was 20945
 
Lets not get to paranoid about the RMS problems on the 996's for everyone that fails there are thousand's that don't. I am sure the 993's have their issues as well. If you are worried about RMS buy one with the old 964 block in it, eg turbo or GT models. You can get a great gt3 in the 40's now and they are depreciaition proof.

Migration info. Legacy thread was 20946
 
Wise words, Sean. I'm not sure about an early-ish GT3 being depreciation-proof; time will tell. But the GT3 is certainly a special model that will hold its allure for longer than an 'ordinary' :wink:
996. Note, though, that a GT3 now selling for 40 something K has already suffered a lot of depreciation.

(I have to say, actually, that one can get too hard-headed about car ownership. If a particular car really does it for someone, they enjoy driving it and the costs aren't an issue, then what the hell? It's just that in future, for various reasons, running a Porsche may not be a viable proposition for the relatively impecunious among us - like me...)


Migration info. Legacy thread was 20947
 
Maxy

The reason a MK1 GT3 will hold it's value is the fact that the 964RS and 993RS's below it are now settled in value, and the GT3 will not go below these in value.

The MK2 GT3's are different as Porsche made to many. They are almost at good mk1 prices already. The GT3RS will also depreciate slower than any other 996 due to it been a truly limited edition model. ( I may be biased ) but there are a number of models in the 996 range that are pointless, the targa for example. Also the 40th Aniversry model was a waste of time....


Migration info. Legacy thread was 20948
 
Chaps.

On the notion of profitablility - Porsche AG made rather a lot (read most) of its money through EUR calls/USD puts (foreign exchange options) this year.... hidden in the accounts but approximately 600mn EUR for 2004/2005. One obvious point to make is that if you sell your cars priced in dollars in your biggest market (USA) and the dollar loses 20% against the EUR, the currency of your accounts, then how are you making record profits?

Porsche is acting like a hedge fund.....

Pete


Migration info. Legacy thread was 20949
 
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