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    Panamera in NY Times

    This was a sidebar article in the paper, on the logic of the Panamera -- interesting point on it vis-a-vis the Ferrari 612 and a comment from Ferrari that could get one thinking.

    August 7, 2005

    Power to the Four-Door People

    AS Porsche sees it, the company is doing a favor for disadvantaged segments of the auto market - the proletarian realms of sedans and S.U.V.'s - by bringing "Porsche performance" to the masses.

    The small and shadowy brotherhood of Porsche purists - a few of whom may actually own one of the company's sports cars - was aghast when the German automaker started producing the Cayenne S.U.V. three years ago. Yet an amazing thing happened: it sold briskly.

    Last year, in fact, the Cayenne handily outsold all Porsche car models combined, sending purists to their rooms to sulk.

    The Cayenne's success has emboldened the company to announce another purist-provoking move: in 2009 it will begin selling its first four-door car, the Panamera, which it calls a "premium-class sports coupe with four seats, four doors and a choice of front-mounted engines driving the rear wheels."

    George Peterson, president of AutoPacific Group, a market research firm, was not among those left aghast. "From our perspective, this is a logical extension of the Porsche lineup," he said. "The Panamera actually fits somewhat better with the Porsche DNA than the Cayenne" simply because the "Panamera is a car." He said he had no doubt that Porsche performance could be packed into a platform with two extra doors, even one with the engine in front.

    Porsche's rationale for becoming if not a full-line automaker, at least one with a fuller line - it is also adding the Cayman, a Boxster-based hardtop - is that the company needs to generate revenue to stay independent. Visions of other takeovers - General Motors' gobbling of Saab or Ford's ingestion of Jaguar - come to mind.

    As a sports-car-only boutique, Porsche needed Volkswagen as a partner to develop the Cayenne. Porsche says it will not need such a partner for the Panamera, so the income-generating strategy must be working. Mr. Peterson noted that Porsche is believed to earn more money per vehicle than any other automaker.

    "From a business standpoint," Mr. Peterson said, "Porsche's bottom line is certainly healthier now than if they had listened to their purists - many who may be lunatic-fringe car crazies or gold-chain poseurs - and limited their lineup to sports cars."

    Are there any limits to what might wear the badge of a revered sports-car marque?

    Last year, at the introduction of the Scaglietti 612, the largest Ferrari ever, I asked an engineer whether the company might consider stretching the package a bit more to produce a sedan. He called this "an interesting question," and added, "If a person has a need for four doors, and a passion for Ferrari, why should he have to shop somewhere else for a car?"

    While Ferrari may still be asking that question internally, Porsche seems to have answered it. Now how about a van or a pickup truck?

    Link to Article

    Re: Panamera in NY Times

    Great article, thanks for posting.
    I'm really surprised at the ending comment about Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari didn't even want to have the prancing horse on a car with four seats, let alone four doors. I just can't see a four door Ferrari in the future. However, their gran turismo cars keep getting bigger and bigger, and after the split with Maserati they might be thinking of bringing something different to the market.
    Ferrari isn't an independant manufacturer like Porsche though.
    No, I still can't see it happening.
    Then again I never thought Porsche would build an SUV.

    Re: Panamera in NY Times

    DamienL said:
    Then again I never thought Porsche would build an SUV.

    They have built tractors in the past.... so they had the experience to built a SUV



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