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Porsche - the world's best car company.

scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
edited May 12 in Porsche
Title of an article by Jerry Flint in the current issue of Forbes.

In his opinion Porsche is the world's best auto company and Weideking the best auto executive.

"The key people.. (at Porsche).. are product engineers who want to build the best product in the world, not just M.B.A.s."

Porsche has the highest profit margin of any car company at 17% of revenues.

Flint has the following to say about quality:

"Porsche ranks 32nd on the new J.D. Power Initial Quality Study.........But Porsche owners love their cars, and love is deaf to a few squeaks."

http://www.forbes.com/columnists/forbes/2005/0704/062.html?_requestid=4335
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Comments

  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    More like a truck company these days.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,686
    If he means by "best" that they OWN their niche market, I'd have to agree. Nobody seriously challenges them in marketing their products to a certain clientele.

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  • chris65amgchris65amg Posts: 372
    There is some merit to that. People love their Porsches so much that they are willing to put up with things that people wouldn't accept from, say, their Mercedes. Porsche makes a lot of that profit because they charge a lot for options. And I mean a lot. But hey, they make totally awesome cars.

    I also imagine that at least the 911 owners can't hear the squeaks over the engine. My uncle bought a 911 a couple of months ago, and he is estatic owner. He let me drive it, and I see why.

    It's hard to measure exactly what being the best car company is, but Porsches sure are lovely.
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    is a business magazine 'best' = 'most profitable'. No other car company comes close to Porsche's profit percentage on gross sales.

    The article also describes the loyalty Porsche owners have toward the brand.

    I have enjoyed Jerry Flint's auto insights for many years.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,686
    I realize that not everyone sees the value in a Porsche (some just scratch their heads) but obviously Porsche is doing a good job of conveying real value to its customers. I don't think it's all "smoke and mirrors". The problem for some consumers is that to understand Porsche cars it requires a very high level of personal participation. You have to drive the car as it was intended to be driven, otherwise if you're just out for "lookin' good" or "luxury" you're probably going to bail on the car and get something else.

    This may not be the case with the Boxster---I'm not sure if the mystique is rubbing off or not on this model.

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  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    That profit in most other areas would be considered just taking advantage of
    customers that didn't know any better and don't shop around. But in Porsche
    it is held up as a sign of value, just not real value, more image value. I really
    need to go on more test drives just to get in more than the Boxster S that I
    drove a couple years ago. One friend that has been an instructor for PCA is
    building a spec Miata since the cost of tracking his TT is just out of reach.
    Go Figure!
    Randy
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,705
    Porsche's managers have proved very adept at generating an image and a mystique that transcends the actual charcteristics of the cars they sell. The best analogy I can think of is Harley-Davidson.

    OTOH they operate in a segment of the market that doesn't have nearly as much competition as say Toyota or Honda, to name a couple of others who might be considered the "world's best car company".

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,686
    Oh I'd have to disagree with that, especially the Harley analogy. They aren't called "hogs" for nothing after all.

    Porsches walk their talk, to the letter. They are sold on performance, precision, quality and the ability to redline all day long, and they deliver all of that in spades. They aren't sold on luxury or gas mileage or defects per 100 ratings or practicality or value per dollar as Japanese cars often are marketed. And I don't think they rely solely on empty image like Harley does.

    What Porsche does (which I think is very clever of them) is emphasis what they are very very good at and completely ignore the rest. Porsche knows its audience and reels them in.

    If one pays attention to the sales brochures, one definitely gets what is advertised in a Porsche. The ads keep their promises. Besides all that, there are a gazillion used Porsches on the road, some very old, and most of them are restored at costs well above their value. That certainly influences new car sales I think. You are buying into the history and you see it all around you.

    Porsches aren't trailer queens either. They easily run up 200,000 miles, which most sports cars never do, because they aren't driven that much (not because they can't). If you do see a Honda or Corvette with 100K+ miles, that devalues the car a lot, but you can sell a well-kept 200K Porsche for the same price as an 80K Porsche, as weird as that sounds.

    The Porsche is bizarre in a lot of ways. It doesn't follow the usual marketing rules, which gives it a unique position that is pretty difficult to imitate.

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  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,705
    Well all right, the Hog analogy was flawed. Porsches really do deliver superior performance but IMO the image rings a little hollow in an age when they no longer compete at the top levels of racing and make nearly as many trucks as cars.

    Fortunately, I read that Porsche will soon compete again in sports car endurance racing (ALMS) with help from the redoubtable Mr Penske. 'Sabout time!

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,653
    Jerry makes some good points.

    Just go to mid-ohio when the Porche club is in town. Those guys run their cars hard and take racing pretty seriously and many aren't trailered. You'll see 911s from all over the country that were driven there, on the track all week then driven home.

    Porche has always been the ultimate sports car to me and probably always will.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    Well all right, the Hog analogy was flawed.

    You'll have to go digging for it, but I'm sure there's irony in the fact that when HD finally DID build a modern cruiser in the V-Rod, it was Porsche they turned to for engineering assistance!

    I've been told (and I don't know if this is true) that Volvo's 2.9 liter straight six, currently in use in the S80 and XC90 but which made its debut in the '92 960, was a Porsche design.
  • cadillacmikecadillacmike Posts: 543
    owned by volkswagen ???

    farfegnugen !
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,705
    Porsche AG has no formal ties to Volkswagen-Audi Group but there are long standing family and sentimental ties that go back to the foundings of both companies. Chairman of the VAG Supervisory Board, Dr. Piech is a grandson of Ferdinand Porsche so it's "all in the family" so to speak but the company's are separately owned, have separate boards
    etc.

    Their are technical agreements between the companies too, most people are aware they've co-developed certain products including the Cayenne/Toureg and the 914/914-6.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    Ahhh, the 914.

    Poor maligned wunderkind, says I. Two of 'em around the corner in race trim. They seem to get fair use through at least half the year. Same guy owns three 944 cabs. I hate him...
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    Well, I guess you could consider the new Porsche LMP2 car as new to endurance racing if you ignored all the GT2 class GT3Cup cars that currently run in the lowest level of ALMS. It is interesting that only Panoz will run against them and no other factory wants to try. But the Panoz has taken the top step on the podium once this season and I for one hope they do it again, several times.

    As to Porsche going to the track on the weekend and driving home I seem to have a pretty bullet proof Corvette doing the same thing. Anyone wants to see both drop by Buttonwillow for the July 4th weekend before the holiday. Now I know there is no way I'm going to catch the Porsche that Jack O. drives in the time trial even if I have more experience on whatever configuration they pick to run. But, keeping things in perspective is part of the fun, I'll try to pick up a few pointers to get there faster.
    Randy
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Anyone wants to see both drop by Buttonwillow for the July 4th weekend before the holiday. Now I know there is no way I'm going to catch the Porsche that Jack O. drives in the time trial even if I have more experience on whatever configuration they pick to run. But, keeping things in perspective is part of the fun, I'll try to pick up a few pointers to get there faster.

    Sounds as though you have great holiday coming up.

    Good luck on the track!
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,705
    of ALMS or anything else. Porsche built it's reputation on dominating the highest levels
    of sports car endurance racing and IMO Porsche isn't Porsche until it at least contests at that level.

    Good luck at Buttonwillow.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • potemkinpotemkin Posts: 196
    I read somewhere that BMW is the most admired car company. Wouldn't that make them the best?

    Go!
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    I hope to have a safe and fun weekend and hope everyone else does as well. By running the weekend before the holiday I get home for the activities on the 4th and the wife and daughter get to go to the dog show and not have me along as excess baggage. Now I just have to sort out the tires and brakes before going a week from tomorrow, plenty of time if America's Tire comes through with the delivery from Kumho, decided the rears aren't going to make two days and then get me home safe.

    The main Porsche thrust in North American factory supported racing right now seems to be the GT3 Cup cars going at in GT2 class, below the Vette's, Aston's, Ferrari's, Maserati, Saleen's and a Viper or two in the GT1 class. I'm guessing that since the LMP1's finish first and the GT1's come in next usually followed by the LMP2 cars that the GT2 cars are in the lowest class, so to speak. But they do seem to enjoy bumping each other around the tracks.
    Randy
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Porsche - the world's best car company.

    Hmmm....I wouldn't argue with that. As a "company" they are at worst one of the leaders, especially considering how small they are. Porsche is arguably the most focused of the German car companies and the most true to their roots. The Cayenne you ask? Well does it not drive like a Porsche? Is it not the sportiest SUV you can buy? Yes and Yes, well at least the Cayenne Turbo is. The Carrera GT made up for that with me. Also, just look at the 997 911 and the re-modeled Boxster.

    Porsche is definitely more focused than Mercedes and VW, and even BMW at this point. BMW which is usually my pick for the best car "company" has been side tracked in the last few years with questionable styling and ergonomics/interior design. They took away the cockpit layout, so key to the BMW experience for some in the past. Mercedes, well enough has been written about them. The engineering is still great, but the quality and reliability strayed a great deal from their "the best or nothing" promise. Newer models like the SLK, CLS and S-Class show promise. See the detailing on the new S-Class' interior. Not since the late 80's early 90's has a Mercedes had such interior detail. VW has managed to confuse themselves into think they're a upscale or even luxury car maker. Not. A 26K Jetta that isn't selling to good and a 70-95K Phaeton that never will.

    The only rival Porsche has in the "best car company" race is Toyota. Some might say Honda or Nissan, but they have more wrinkles than Toyota to me. I'm think Ferrari might be worth mentioning, but their corporate landscape changes weekly it seems. Are they part of Fiat or not, and if so which side of Fiat? Does anyone know what Ferrari's earning are?

    M
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,686
    Porsche and BMW have some similarities or HAD some...they both sort of defined and then totally dominated a certain niche. I think BMW can't really corner the luxury sport sedan market anymore, since the Japanese imitators are really pretty darn good....but nobody is crazy enough to challenge Porsche's niche right now....it's probably not really worth the effort anyway....there is only a certain amount of "pie" in that price bracket.

    But Porsche and Ferrari are totally out of the normal business loop regarding the auto industry I think...if you apply "normal" standards of measurement you'll end up mostly confused.

    As for Ferrari, if you make that expensive a product, and if it's sold out years in advance, your earnings can't be TOO bad.

    For most of its life, Ferrari's entire rationale for existence was to sell street cars to finance racing. The entire reason for Ferrari being alive was to race--street cars were just a means to accomplish that. Now with Fiat this has changed I'm sure and they are expected to turn a profit.

    This fact seems to escapes most folks who are not familiar with Ferrari history. The car was born to race, like a thoroughbred horse, and anything was justifiable to accomplish that, to get the cars on the track. Really, I don't think any other car company existing today has that kind of history. (This is part of what you pay for when you buy one).

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  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    With Corvette winning, I think, 4 of the last 5, times out at Le Mans and several others doing better than the Ferrari entries it must be causing angst, to say the least. How long will it take to push to th front again or have we seen the last of the top sports racers from Ferrari? It will be interesting to me to see how well the C6 Z06 does when it starts to run some of the EU series.
    Randy
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,705
    Ferrari dropped out of big time sportscar racing a long time ago to concentrate on F1 which has worked out well for them. I miss the days of the Ferrari at LeMans, Daytona etc but they are as unlikely to return as seeing Corvettes run in F1 :P

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,686
    Americans always quit racing if they win a lot or lose a lot (the factory teams I mean). Ferrari and Porsche stay in racing win or lose. That's why Corvette has no long-standing international racing reputation and why it never will. Privateers will continue to race the car but Chevrolet as a factory won't. You've got to be willing to "race until you're broke" and few companies have ever rolled dice that big.

    This longterm committment to racing has turned into a nifty marketing tool for Porsche and Ferrari which cannot be copied no matter how good your car is. It's like selling...oh, I don't know....Chuck Jaeger "sound barrier" jackets...nobody else did it first and so well, so nobody else can sell it that image or that event.

    It's possible this image can wear thin over time, but so far, Porsche seems to prove otherwise.

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  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    IMO sports car racing is more effective for enhancing sales and brand image than F1, Indy, etc.

    A current owner feels validated seeing a car 'just like mine' winning on the track.

    The potential buyer sees himself in the seat of 'the same car' he just saw winning its class at LeMans.

    F1 is in such a pit now - will the latest debacle be the last straw?
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,711
    Interesting point. I suspect Subaru may also fall into that catagory, as their commitment to rally racing seems very strong, and they've made it a "core point" in all their brand marketing. I guess we'll only know that for sure many years down the road, however.

    Bob
  • rothwellrothwell Posts: 2
    Are early model 911( 1986-95) as reliable as the new ones. Could you use a older porsche as a daily driver..........What to expect in tems of maintance....Thanx.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,686
    I'd be glad to share my opinions on that but maybe that's kinda off topic here. Why don't you post that question in the All About Porsches forum over in the Coupes & Convertibles Board?

    I will comment though tangentially on Porsche cars as it related to their image. The nice thing about Porsches is that although they are very high performance they aren't a bit fussy. You can use them every day as if you were driving a Toyota Corolla (althought I I wish you wouldn't :cry: ). In that sense they are more like Corvette than Ferrari.

    Also I don't think any supercar on the planet racks up more miles than a Porsche...you rarely see Vipers or Vettes or Ferraris for sale with 200K+ miles on them---for two reasons---one, most people use them as second cars or "toys" and so don't load up the miles and secondly, they are essentially worthless with that many miles on them, whereas high mileage doesn't seem to phase used Porsche buyers as much.

    Odd thing but there you go.

    Shifty

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  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    I am interested in your take on sportscar vs. F1 racing.

    Do results from either type of racing influence buyers?

    (See post #26)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,686
    With Porsche buyers you mean? Umm...I think amateur events influence Porsche buyers because lots of Porsche owners track their cars. But for F1 events probably it is Ferrari buyers who respond to international racing more than Porsche buyers. One reason is that Ferrari sells off its old F1 cars to the public! So you will see plenty of more modern Ferrari race cars being driven by amateurs for "fun" with big bucks for tech support (MIGHTY big bucks) and hopefully enough skill not to kill themselves first time out.

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