This seven minute Porsche PR video (bottom of post) invites you to visit its Leipzig, Germany factory where it manufactures the Cayenne SUV and Panamera four-door luxury sedan (i.e., NOT the sports cars).
The centerpiece of the sprawling facility is the futuristic Customer Center, a.k.a. “The Diamond.” You could also look at the structure as a giant bowl of cash because the vast majority of Porsche’s profits come from sales of the Cayenne (base MSRPs $47,700 – $106,000) and the Panamera (base MSRPs 74,400 – $173,200).
Porsche’s US sales are up 46% for the first four months of 2011, led primarily by high demand for the Cayenne and Panamera. The recession must be over, right?
Let’s look at the numbers. Through April 2011, Porsche sold a total of 3,272 sports cars (Boxster, Cayman and 911). During that same period, Porsche sold 2,297 Panameras and 4,610 Cayennes – total 6,907 units. So Cayenne (4 variants) sales were double that of the Panamera. And the Panamera (7 variants) outsold the flagship 911 (23 variants) by 202 units.
It’s impossible to know how much profit is built into each Cayenne and Panamera; however, Porsche has stated numerous times that its profits from the Cayenne alone completely revived the company and cemented its reputation as the most profitable car company on the planet. The Panamera, in its second model year, is another cash cow. The combined sales of these non-sports car offerings is more than double the combined sales of the sports cars.
The sports car purists were beside themselves (me included) when the bloated Cayenne SUV debuted in 2002. It was the end of Porsche. Who would want that hideous thing? It’s sacrilege for Porsche to build an SUV. Well, I and every other pundit was wrong and the Cayenne sold like tickets to a Lady Gaga concert. Now in its second generation, the Cayenne is a much more visually appealing and sportier SUV and Porsche can’t keep them in stock.
The Porsche literati also predicted doom for the 2009 introduction of the all-new 2010 Panamera 4-door luxury hatchback sedan. It’s hideous. It weighs too much. It’s not a “real” Porsche. It will flop in the market. Porsche is too small to take on Mercedes, BMW and Audi. Blah blah blah. The naysayers were wrong again. Like with the Cayenne, Porsche is struggling to keep up with strong worldwide demand for the Panamera. In LA, you can’t turn a corner in Beverly Hills or Century City without running into one.
But I digress. Back to Porsche Leipzig. The test track and off-road courses (for testing the abilities of your Cayenne SUV) are breathtaking and meticulously-crafted. Who wouldn’t want to jump in a new Porsche and take driving lessons from a condescending German factory expert? You don’t even have to rough up your new Porsche – you drive factory-provided models. I don’t care how much they don’t like Americans — sign me up!
The video is an impressive, convincing puff piece. I’d LOVE to “collect” my new Panamera Turbo at the factory. If you’re actually in the market for a Cayenne or Panamera, I think it would be a lifetime experience to fly to the factory, take delivery, have every aspect of your new car explained to you in detail by the people who built it and enjoy expert driving instruction, a museum tour and delicious food prepared to your specifications. Leave the Leipzig factory and tour the rest of Europe in your new Porsche before it’s carefully wrapped and shipped back home. Wunderbar!