words by Robert Turner
Brand loyalty. Automotive manufacturers just love the concept. It means that life-time buyers can go from the El Cheapo entry-level car all the way up to the Grand Poobah lux barge, all without leaving the comfort and safety of the driver’s seat of their favorite brand. No doubt the Grand Poobah is probably the most expensive car in the fleet and, I have a sneaking suspicion, also the least fuel efficient car in the fleet too, but that’s okay, because it’s also the most profitable car the manufacturer makes. You know—the one that no matter what the Government of XYZ country does to try to kill it, the manufacturer will keep building that sucker till the nodding donkeys stop pumping oil.
OK, so maybe I am talking about Lexus guys, but there is something to say about how we Porsche folk approach our favorite marque. I am willing to bet that for many of us, there’s more than one Porsche lurking in our collective garages. We bought in to the concept of the entry-level car and maybe started with a Boxster. But from there we may have moved to the flag ship, the 911 Carrera (or something more fun like a Turbo, GT3 or, dare I say it, a GT2). And as family needs changed maybe we added a Cayenne or Panamera for when two-up driving was out of the question and you were forced—yes forced—to put people or stuff in the back. Point is, once we bought into the Porsche family hook, line, and PDK, we most likely decided to stay around for quite some time.
“You won’t see anything lower than the current Boxster model...Our entry model is our pre-owned program.”
But have you checked the prices of those suckers lately? I mean a Cayman can run north of $90K and that does not even include fun stuff like seats and wheels. Problem is for me, the price tag of new Porsches is beyond my reach. Not so much because of what I make, but because of one or two other things that occupy me financially (like two kids in college, their cars, room and board and the myriad of other things that seem to be attached to young adults these days). So I have to be content with pre-owned Porsches. I may be dating myself a bit, but there was a time when we called them used cars; but pre-owned sounds so much more civilized.
Porsche's entry level car for model year 1977 was a 924 with a base price of USD$9,395, that's USD$36,390 in 2015 dollars. the average price of a new home back then was around USD$49,300; USD$190,954 in 2015 money. so a 924 was roughly 19.05% of an average home's price
this entry level base 2015 Porsche Boxster starts at around USD$51,400, cost of an average house today? USD$178,700; the cost of this Boxster is 28.76% of an average home's cost
Nowadays a 2001 Boxster S is what fills my garage. Yes, I procured it as a pre-owned vehicle. Although to most people a Porsche is not exactly entry-level, fact is at this time in my life, it’s what I can afford. To the uninitiated layman, however, a 2001 Boxster looks pretty much like a 2010 Boxster. Honestly they cannot tell the difference.
But what about a real entry-level Porsche, say a sub-Boxster? It’s been rumored for years. It’s been an on again/off again affair. One day it’s going to be an enhanced version of a new VW, the next it’s going to be smaller and lighter than the Boxster.
So I’m thinking, hey, I can afford an entry-level Porsche. Something around $40K (well equipped). If I move a few things around financially, get top dollar for my Boxster S and use the proceeds from the sale as a down payment, it could work. But Detlev Von Platen, CEO of Porsche North America killed any hope of an El Cheapo Porsche, saying “You won’t see anything lower than the current Boxster model.” Further squashing any hopes for an entry-level Porsche, he continued: “Our entry model is our pre-owned program.” Thanks Detlev. We get the picture. Been there, doing that…
And on that exhaust note, see you next time.
Robert Turner is the author of The Driver, a series of six novels your editor in chief finds intoxicatingly engaging and superbly written; Book I— Decision and Book II— Training are currently available here. He also has a blog entitled My Life with Porsches. Robert can be contacted at email@example.com.