It is quite clear at the moment that the deal between Volkswagen and Porsche is done. Still, the most important and interesting battles have just started. A couple of rumors state that mister Martin Winterkorn, the CEO of Volkswagen, has expressed his desire to launch three new Porsche models, including a Panamera based model, a baby Boxster and a junior Cayenne (sounds weird, I know). But, more recent rumors, suggest that the Chairman of Volkswagen, mister Ferdinand Piech, has in plan to change the direction in which Porsche is going, by taking it back to its essence.
From what it seems, mister Ferdinand Piech plans to kill the Panamera and Cayenne after the end of their life cycle. He is basing his thoughts on the fact that the Volkswagen Group already has a big range of SUVs and sedans in its offer.
In my opinion, there are two extremely important points of this problem. It is a matter of taking action or not. To be even more precise, it is a matter of playing it safe or taking a risk. Obviously, everything is about money. I honestly think that both the Cayenne and the Panamera are hideous cars.
Sure, both the Cayenne and Panamera have a great build quality (both interior and exterior), have great engines and offer a high level of comfort. The only problem (a very big one too) is that they do not represent the essence, the history of the Porsche brand. Porsche is a legendary sports car maker that has made history with its models, which are famous for what they represent. Pure passion and performance. To bring to the market a SUV and a weird limousine, you being a historical sports car maker, is plain stupid from my point of view.
Still, we can not deny the obvious. No matter what I or anyone else thinks about these two models, no matter how hideous they are, they sell. They sell like crazy. Actually, the Cayenne and the Panamera might be keeping Porsche alive in the current hard economical conditions.
It might seem simple, but it is not. Volkswagen has to make up their mind and decide what to do.
If they choose to go on with the Panamera and Cayenne, it is clear that the immediate profit will be the most important thing. Snobs and parvenus will continue to be trendy by buying cars like the Panamera and Cayenne, Volkswagen will be happy with the money made by these two models, so everyone is happy. Only apparently, in my opinion. On a short term, Porsche will obviously gain good steady profits, profits that are vital in the current economic crisis. Still, on the long term, Porsche will lose a lot of its image. Their image of an iconic sports car maker will be lost. Porsche will start being associated with all the snobs and parvenus. They will lose their traditional customers, customers that are intrigued by the fact that an historical brand has become what it is today. And, to be honest, we all know that what is trendy today tomorrow can be outdated. Sure, the Cayenne and Panamera are two extremely trendy cars, but for how long will this keep going on? One year? Two years? Less than this? No one knows exactly. The point is that, at the end of the day, Volkswagen will have a serious problem on their hands. They will see that the sales of the Panamera and Cayenne have fallen because another automaker has released a car that is trendier. They will also see that their traditional customers are sick of what the Porsche brand has become. At that point, they will realize that they should have killed the Panamera and Cayenne a couple of years ago, but it will be too late.
If they choose to kill the Panamera and Cayenne they are taking a risk, the risk of loosing two cars that are selling like crazy. Thus, they will lose almost certain cold hard cash that is coming in fast in their accounts. On the other hand, if they make this choice, they are certainly going to gain a lot of respect from a lot of people, including traditional customers that have been disappointed lately by the fact that an iconic sports car maker is now producing SUVs and hideous limousines. On a short term, I think that Porsche will lose money, a lot of it if you want. But, on the long term, I am sure that they will win a lot, if they start bringing back the essence of a historic automaker like Porsche.
Seems like a no-brainer decision, but actually it is harder than it seems. The best choice would be a compromise. I think that Porsche should continue the production of the Panamera and Cayenne for a couple of years, until the end of their popularity. This way, they will earn a lot of money in this hard period that is governed by the economic and financial crisis. Still, it will not be too late to take the Porsche brand to its original philosophy and essence.
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