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    Is Porsche a niche manufacturer?

    I remember a while ago a thread from nberry arguing that Porsche wasn't a niche player any longer. I was recently able to put my hand on some interesting numbers:

    World demand for cars with a sticker price:
    - $90k-$150k is around 100,000 units.
    - $150k-$200k is around 15,000 units
    - above $200k is 3,000 units

    For the past fiscal year (2003/2004), Porsche sales in the respective segments were:
    $90k-$150k: 25,046 units (market share 25%)
    $150$-$200k: 411 units (GT2)(market share 3%)
    above $200k: 222 units (CGT) (market share 7%)

    So in the ultra high-end segment Porsche is still a niche player while in the "entry luxury" segment it is a "mass maker" with a 25% market share !!!

    Re: Is Porsche a niche manufacturer?

    Here's another perspective:
    According to statistics there are 6,446,131,400 (July 2005 est.) people on this planet.
    Last year Porsche produced 81,531 "units", meaning 81,531 people bought a new Porsche.

    That's one in every 79,063 person who bought a Porsche.

    I dunno. Ferrari, Porsche, Aston...I feel pretty darn privileged owning the car I do.
    Exclusivity to me by the way, is owning something that very few people own, or having the possibility of experiencing things that can't be bought.
    Be it finding a special, old Austin Healey abandoned in a barn or getting a chat with your favourite F1-driver in your local pub.

    Owning any Porsche is exclusive to some extent, but since they keep producing a certain car as long as people want it and can afford it, it will never get to be super-exclusive. That goes for Ferrari too.

    The CGT is exclusive to the extent that they only produce 1200 units, other cars are exclusive because it takes forever to get them (Ferrari e.g.).

    If you want true, 100% pure exclusivity...have someone build a car specifically for YOU. Not just adjusted, but built solely for you.
    A Jesse James or Orange County Choppers car if you will...
    Sure, it will run you several million dollars, but then you can yell "exclusive" all day long

    Re: Is Porsche a niche manufacturer?

    It's also relative. Consider that of the 81K Porsches that were sold, how many were sold in Namibia or the Congo. In those markets you're probably the only 996/997 driver. In places like San Diego (where Nick trolls, I mean lives) Porsches are much more common but then again so are Ferraris. It's just hard to notice all the Ferrari's as much because they're all behind garage doors, in the shop being serviced or a few are at the track where most folks aren't. Porsches on the other hand, are out on the streets being driven.

    Re: Is Porsche a niche manufacturer?

    This discussion is likely to become one of semantics. My answer is yes and no.

    No:
    While Porsche does not exactly cater to the masses so that everyone can own a Porsche, in the world of luxury vehicles and sports cars (which some people may call a rather large niche), Porsche is going after as many customers as they can find.

    It started with kinder, heavier, and more gentle sports cars like the 911 Cab C4S Tip. Then came the Cayenne V6 and eventually we will also have a sedan on our hands.

    Yes:
    Porsche still makes the cars for enthuisiasts like the GT2, GT3, CGT, etc. These are very much niche vehicles. Even if you consider the variety of cars they sell, they are still catering to a slightly upmarket crowd. These are no economy cars.

    So the answer tends to become stronger in the no category as time passes by, but if you look at it from a global market point of view, Porsche is still somewhat of a niche manufacturer.

    Ferrari is a little different. They are a niche manufacturer that wants everyone to aspire to own one. They is evidenced by their marketing strategies.

    Re: Is Porsche a niche manufacturer? (sorry I ramble a bit)

    You're right - I smell a thread about to be speckled with semantics. I'd simply kick it off that if you're talk about Porsche as a company being mass market oriented, I'd say that they do certainly make it easier than some companies (Ferrari, Lotus, Noble and others) to own their vehicles. Things like aggressive financing, lots of dealerships located conveniently to where the more affluent customers are, and designing their cars to be used on an everyday basis (20K service intervals on the new 997 and the ability to drive in reverse up hill (vs. F1 F cars )as but 2 examples). Their strategy to design a platform that is capable of being modified to support multiple models (11 in the case of the 911) is to me, a sound business decision while some may criticize that they divvy up the range too much. When it comes to exclusivity, I think many on this board seem to equate "exclusivity" with "resale value" and "being difficult to get". Surely people must recognize that there are more F430's being built than Porsche builds GT2's and both cars compete for the same customer (both RWD, $190K-ish, minimum of driver aids, etc.).

    I think if you were to ask prospective customers of either a Ferrari or Porsche what those brands mean to them, you'll likely get a variety of answers - some of them consistent and others not. To me, Porsche doesn't only mean air cooled, rear engined cars as it may to the Porsche purist brought up on 356's and 70's 911's. Things change and Porsche recognizes this. I used to play with BB guns and GI Joes but thankfully I don't anymore and Porsche realizes that my lifestyle needs have changes since then. Once upon a time, you couln't say Ferrari without also saying 12 cylinder in the same sentence but Ferrari has changed too although probably not to the degree that Porsche has over the same period of time. While Porsche has been successful in each of its new model launches since the Boxster, including the Cayenne which infuriated many, Ferrari's efforts outside the 360/430 range have been been less so. I'm anxious to see how Ferrari does once it's a publicly traded company and it comes time to replace the 430. Since this model is the equivalent of Ferrari's 3-series (BMW) that represents the lion's share of revenues and profits, I bet they stay pretty conservative on the styling evolution because if they get it wrong it could seriously affect the company. It would be nice to see them develop more attractive and appealing models to replace the 612 and 575 but if they don't the numbers are much smaller so it probably doesn't matter as much.

    Anyway, as to 'niche', in the grand scheme of the total car business, Porsche and Ferrari are both dwarfed by Toyota, GM, etc. As someone posted earlier, slicing the car market by price point, doesn't tell the whole story. You can say Porsche has X% marketshare of the vehicle segment comprising sportscars at a $80K to $100K level but as we all know, sportscars as a rule are by definition niche products because they're not as practical as other vehicle alternatives.

     
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