Is A Porsche Sold In Volume Still A Porsche?

Yes. Err, sort of.

The question arises because Porsche is striving to reach a production of 200,000 units sold annually by the end of this year or next (it sold approx. 160,000 in 2013). The bulk of the additional sales would likely come from the Macan – the Cayenne’s smaller compact SUV counterpart.

Regardless, there is some concern over whether Porsche can maintain its current level of boyhood poster appeal if the automaker keeps losing exclusivity. There is even a poll originated by Autoblog, which shows an almost 50/50 split. Of course, the poll (and the question) assume that exclusivity is an element integral to the brand.

Okay, let’s back up and consider that Porsche flung the door wide open to hate mail and death threats from loyalists the moment the first Cayenne rolled off the line. There is a valid question as to whether its alledged decline in appeal started thusly. We’ve been of the opinion that whatever allows the car maker to keep producing the 911 in its myriad flavors is kosher, but different strokes for different folks…

Then, going back further, there was a little car produced from 1977 to 1988 (with a mid-eighties hiatus) called the 924. It was branded as both the Porsche of tomorrow, and the Porsche for everybody. And of course, loyalists hated it. That didn’t change the fact that it sold like hotcakes, and brought Porsche back from the brink of oblivion.

The lesson here is that Porsche is not Ferrari. 200,000 units is a leap from their previous sales, but still it represents only a small sliver of the world’s annual car consumption. Nobody wants to watch the legendary brand slip into the clutches of mediocrity, but that’s not dependent on whether they sell 200,000 units, or 2 million units; it’s the engineering that makes a Porsche a Porsche. Consider this: that Ford sells millions of units per year does not detract from the Ford GT’s obvious appeal.

That said, is the world ready to see everyone employing a Cayenne or a Macan as their daily grocery-getter? If you’re with Porsche, that’s exactly what you want.

Aaron Birch is an automotive enthusiast and writer/filmmaker from Detroit, MI. As a rule, he only buys cars older than himself.

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