joão silva

Until the 90's, Porsche sales in Portugal were few. We had a dictator for almost 50 years (20's-70's) and having a low level of importation was one of his goals. This meant that cars made abroad paid a high amount of taxes; even an agreement with Renault to open a factory here was made in exchange for a guaranteed minimum quota of 50%. 356s, too, are very rare; many were imported afterwards because of this taxation.

Taxation and dictatorship seem to be perfect bedfellows benefitting the dictator, but what few people know is that Salazar, Portugal’s dictator, didn't use his power for his own benefit as several photos of him with holes in the shoes. He even turned down a Mercedes Benz offered as a gift on the grounds that it was too "flashy.” You may think he in turn preferred his country and people to prosper, but the sad part was that most were simply too poor to have a car.
After the 25th of April in 1974 when we became a democracy again, things started to change and in the late 70's the number of Porsches increased albeit in small numbers. Despite recovering from 50 years of a lifeless economy and a colonial war that just ended, people didn't feel comfortable showing off their money.

In the 80's, we entered the European Union and things got better with regards to Porsche cars.
this graph illustrates 928 sales in Portugal
The pivotal moment was when our first football star went to play abroad, Paulo Futre (kind of Cristiano Ronaldo from 80´s); one of his demands to sign for the new Spanish club was getting a Porsche! The only car they had in stock at the car dealer was 944S in yellow. At this point, there was more of a focus on model awareness then in sales.

So well-known was Futre’s purchase of a 944 that whenever I need to explain to someone who doesn't really know the brand what car I have, I always say “I have a Futre’s Porsche." As other public figures began buying 944’s, the recognition of the model increased.
Paulo Futre and his 944S
one of Futre's ads for Beirão liquor with his signature yellow Porsche color. the caption reads, "Partner, want to win a Porsche just like mine?"
924 and 944 sales history
So in the late 90's with an almost total liberation of imported used cars, lots of Porsches had crossed the border, and all different kinds too. I don't have exact numbers but I believe half the Porsches we have are imported by private means. That's the story with mine; it entered Portugal in 1998.

Because they were cheap abroad, people many times painted them in more "sexy" colours, black or red. Also the case with mine; the platinum metallic shade it was born with is now black.

On the flip side, new Porsches were being sold at a steady rate in higher numbers with each passing year as the graph below shows.
Porsche sales since 1990
But some years later, the laws changed and importing cars became almost impossible. Maybe due to some of the Salazar's ideas being carved in our culture, having a car is still consider a luxury. Buying a new car still  carries the penalty of paying more in taxes then the car itself, the same goes for gas. 

Apparently, these imported cars weren't paying "enough" taxes and now the taxes are allotted for "eco-friendly" purposes which means we must pay as much taxes those on new cars ones or more because of co2 emissions. For example if someone wants to register a 911 from 90's (964/993), they'll end up paying 20.000€ or more in taxes plus an annual fee of 500€ minimum for road tax; even if they don't drive it! It's insane; many people have project cars unfinished because of this. On the other hand, if you have the “time” to buy a 918, you have an eco-tax reduction; so we bought 4! It was impossible to resist the bargain...I'm joking! The minimum the cost rises above 800,000 € for that 918.

So, car prices are linked to price of their cost when new as well as on the second hand market.

Not having many transaxles here, being impossible to import more and being a brand whose new cars are very expensive (911 starts at 100,000 €) prices got lower but not as much as in other locations. Our prices still double those in the USA or UK. You can't find a decent 924 under 5.000€. 944 Turbo II or S2 Coupe, which are rarely seen on the second hand market, are being exported since they're cheaper for other countries to purchase; we've already lost the only 944 Turbo Cup I knew to Belgium.

Going to the wrong hands, well...I think that´s universal. We've even rescued a 924 from a real Gypsy camp! Many end up being parted and that not only takes more cars off the road, it increases their value which in turn increases your initial investment.

The good news is that all cars are expensive and for this kind of money you can't get a better machine in the transaxle family. Being a sunny country, rust isn't an issue, we can still find mechanical labor at reasonable prices, we can source parts all over the world. The upside is that we're a small and beautiful country with lots of nice roads to drive in; we've recently gotten an award for having some of the best roads to drive on in the world. What better place for a transaxle to be?

I hope you all enjoy this small piece of history, stay tuned for my next article about my own Porsche history.





08/12/2015 21:12

Muito Obrigado, João. Nice detail on the issues of car ownership in Portugal and of course, Porsche's history in the country. One 928 sold in 1989! Crazy.

Ricardo pires
08/13/2015 03:25

Excelente artigo João! Um retrato perfeito da nossa triste realidade!
Não conhecia a tabela de vendas dos 928 e fiquei contente de ver que o meu S faz parte dos 4 comprados em 1983! Quatro em apenas um ano, foi um ano de loucura!!!


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