Porsche Will Sell Watered Down Versions Of These Models In China
Like just about every automaker in the industry, Porsche counts China as one of its biggest and most important markets. The German automaker admittedly hasn’t reached the heights it wants in the country, so to remedy that, it’s planning to offer cheaper and less powerful versions of the latest Boxster and Cayman models.
The move comes in the wake of tepid sales for the German automaker’s sports car line, a far cry from the popularity of the Cayenne SUV in the market. Speaking with Automotive News Europe, Jan Roth, the head of Porsche’s 718 model line, lamented that the company’s primary issue involves the pricing of the two models. The flat-six version of the Cayman, for example, was priced at 700,000 renminbi, which converts to about $105,000 based on current exchange rates. But according to Roth, Chinese customers are more inclined to purchase a sports car that sells for less than 600,000 (about $90,000), calling the amount the “magical threshold for customers in China.”
So to appease the market, Porsche is planning to develop “China-specific” Boxster and Cayman models to persuade reluctant buyers to consider the two models. Not much is known about how the company plans to specifically package these models, but one certainty is that both base versions of the Boxster and Cayman will utilize a 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine that produces 250 horsepower. It’s a slight drop in power from the traditional, 275-horsepower base Cayman model that all other markets will have, but it could spell the difference between attracting more Chinese customers to the table, especially if Porsche prices it right at the level that customers are willing to spend for the car.
That’s going to be the big question now that Porsche appears to be gearing up for this move. How much will these two base Boxster and Cayman models be priced? If Roth’s comments are any indication, somewhere in the 600,000 renminbi range is as good a guess as any at this point.
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Why it matters
To be honest, I didn’t think Porsche needed to take this step because I think it’s a drastic one. But the company is reportedly set to do it so it is what it is. It’s a bold move that I don’t has a precedent in recent automotive history, but it goes to show Porsche’s willingness to take whatever action it deems appropriate to get more Chinese customers behind the wheel of a Porsche Boxster or Cayman.
One other thing this move shows is just how important China is as an automotive market for a lot of auto brands. If Porsche is willing to go this far to sell models, it speaks to just how much it values that market, further emphasised, I might add, by the accompanying decision to sell these “base” Boxster and Cayman models as China exclusives. That means that no other market in the world will get them.
Porsche could’ve done something far less drastic and just priced the flat-six Caymans and Boxsters right to where customers are comfortable purchasing them. Jan Roth himself said that some of these models’ biggest rivals - the Audi TT being one of them - is priced below that 600,000-renminbi amount that Chinese buyers would be comfortable in spending. Is cutting the price on the existing models a better alternative than creating a new base model and fitting smaller engines? That’s a question only Porsche can answer, although I do think that’s a reasonable query to pose at this moment.
At the end of the day, it’s Porsche’s decision to make and if the report from Automotive News Europe is accurate as I expect it to be, then it’s going to be interesting on how decides on prices for these two new base models and just as important, if this decision creates a precedent for Porsche and other automakers alike.
Read our full review on the Porsche 718 Cayman here.
Read our full review on the Porsche 718 Boxster here.
Source: Automotive News