Porsche Nixes Plans for Smaller Panamera and Entry-Level Model
CEO says downsized sedan is still years off and that an entry-level model 'would do no good to the brand.'
Last week we reported that Porsche was considering a downsized adaptation of its Panamera sedan as part of the performance automaker’s stated goal to expand its model lineup. It also recently announced that a baby Cayenne, named the Macan, is headed to production.
But now comes conflicting reports about that expansion -- and a confirmation that Porsche won’t pander to the lower end of the market.
Last week, the German magazine Auto Bild reported that Porsche was planning a smaller version of the Panamera. But CEO Matthias Mueller told Porsche’s hometown newspaper, the Stuttgarter Zeifung, that the company is in no hurry to make a Panamera-lite (code named "Pajun"). He did, however, allow that it could be an option in five or six years -- which is exactly what Auto Bild reported: That would debut around 2017.
Mueller also nixed possibilities that Porsche would fill what some perceive as a void in its line at the low end.
Currently, Porsche's least expensive model is the Boxster; the latest model starts at just under $50,000. Even at that price -- and given that the car comes with a small engine, a simple interior and not a lot of options -- you’re essentially paying for pure Porsche performance.
So there would seem to be a market for, say, a sub-$40K Porsche. But not on Mueller’s watch.
"We would do no good to the brand if we were to lose traditional Porsche customers," Mueller told the newspaper in reference to plans for an entry-level model. He didn’t explain how a sub-Boxtser entry-level car would turn off typical Porsche buyers -- and the automaker certainly didn’t fear alienating Porsche purists when it introduced the polarizing Panamera sedan or controversial Cayenne SUV. Both of those models have been massive sales successes.
But it’s not unusual for a car company CEO to deny rumors of a planned model right up until the cover comes off the production-ready version. Mueller has already gone on record stating that Porsche intends to expands its model line to help the company hit its goal of increasing sales by twofold, to around 200,000, by 2018.
So anything is possible -- especially for Porsche.
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