Porsche continues to be a tremendous success story, particularly since the launch of the Cayenne SUV. A vehicle that saved the German sports car maker from bankruptcy, in some markets it now accounts for half of the brand’s sales, raising the question, is Porsche too reliant on the Cayenne?
The answer would seem to be in the affirmative. One shocking statistic comes from last year’s sales figures. Porsche Cars USA posted impressive figures with 29,023 units sold, a solid improvement over 25,320 in 2010. According to a report by automotive statistics firm GoodCarBadCar, if you remove all Cayenne sales from the mix the remaining number is 16,045. What’s so shocking about that? Well, Porsche’s sales in 2002, before the Cayenne joined the fleet, were 21,320 units, meaning that, Cayenne aside, the last time Porsche sold fewer sports cars than they do now was in 1997.
The time in between has seen the addition of the Cayman, hardly a volume seller, but still a factor in propping up the brand’s sports car numbers. And those years prior to 1997 are the pre-Boxster era.
The numbers are negligibly different for 2010 as well, with 16,997 Porsche models sold if you don’t include the 8,343 Cayennes. Subtract the 7,741 Panameras too and you’re left with just 9,256 Porsche sports cars sold. Delete the 7,735 Cayennes from the 2009 sales figures, Porsche’s worst year in over a decade, and you’re left with a slightly better 11,961 total, which includes few (1,247) Panameras. Jumping back another year to pre-recession 2008 and total sales are a more robust 26,035. Delete 11,216 Cayennes and you’re left with 14,819 sports cars.
A key contributing factor to the decrease in Porsche’s sports car sales over the past few years has been lower and lower sales of the 911. In 2007 Porsche sold 13,153 units, dropping to 8,324 in 2008. Jump ahead to 2009 and the number slides further to 6,839 and then just 5,737 units in 2010. It was only last year, with the addition of numerous special edition models and dealers eager to push 2011 models off their lots to make room for the next generation car that 911 sales increased to a few hundred units to just over the 6,000 mark.
Increased sales of the Cayenne and decreased sports car sales could be entirely unrelated events, though there is the possibility that Porsche customers are foregoing cars like the 911 for the Cayenne. Or, there’s the possibility that 911 customers are just going somewhere else entirely.
Based on these numbers it’s not surprising that the brand has announced another sports car to sit between its upcoming flagship 918 and the 911 range. Until that product gets here, the launch of the 2012 911 models and a new Boxster will certainly bolster the brand’s sports car balance sheet.