911 Porsche World - - News And Views -

In the first six­months of 2018, Porsche sold no fewer than 21,400 911s. That is a sim­ply stag­ger­ing num­ber in the full con­text of the cur­rent car­mar­ket, one which is dom­i­nated by SUVS, cars tuned to hit emis­sions tar­gets and seem­ingly un­stop­pable trends to­wards elec­tri­fi­ca­tion and au­ton­omy. The 911 fits into none of those cat­e­gories. It’s a rel­a­tive di­nosaur by most mea­sures.

Of course, the 911 it­self has been shaped to some de­gree by emis­sions con­cerns. That’s why the flat-six en­gine in the main­stream car­rera mod­els that make up the bulk of pro­duc­tion has shrunk to 3.0 litres froma peak of 3.8-litres and now sports a brace of tur­bos. But 3.0 litres is big by any nor­mal stan­dard. Volvo, for in­stance, has bet its en­tire fu­ture on pro­duc­ing cars with noth­ing larger than a 2.0-litre en­gine. BMW’S i8, surely amore rel­e­vant har­bin­ger of things to come than, say, 6.5-litre Fer­raris that sell in tiny numbers, makes do with lit­er­ally half the ca­pac­ity and half the cylin­der count. What’s more, in 2017 Porsche only man­aged to find homes for 32,197 911s all year. At an an­nu­alised rate, 2018’s per­for­mance so far would add up to some­thing in the re­gion of 40,000 and surely make for a record.

Of course, the sec­ond half of 2018 looks set to be ab­nor­mal thanks to the in­tro­duc­tion of the NEW WLTP emis­sions test­ing regime in place of the de­funct if not dis­graced NEDC pro­gramme. Cur­rently, Porsche is only tak­ing or­ders on a very lim­ited range of sports cars as it works to fit petrol par­tic­u­late fil­ters and re­tune its en­tire range. Even then, the cur­rent Type-991 911 is near end-of-life and Porsche is tool­ing up for the new 992. Such tran­si­tions al­ways see a tem­po­rary drop off in sales as one model fi­nally dies and pro­duc­tion grad­u­ally ramps for its re­place­ment. So sales of the 911 in the sec­ond half of this year will be cur­tailed to at least some ex­tent. But by any met­ric, the 911 is sell­ing well.

Ac­tu­ally, the 911 is sell­ing as well or bet­ter to­day than it ever has done. That’s not only an in­cred­i­ble achieve­ment in amar­ket that has gen­er­ally lost in­ter­est in main­stream sports cars. It’s also well worth re­mem­ber­ing when­ever any­body dis­misses modern day Porsche as be­ing merely amaker of ex­pen­sive SUVS.

Yes, Porsche makes far­more SUVS than 911s and 718s. In 2017, Porsche made a com­bined to­tal of around 57,000 sports cars but also a com­bined to­tal of 160,000 SUVS. But Porsche also makes far­more 911s to­day than it did when all Porsche made was sports cars or in­deed when all Porsche made was the 911. In the heart of the air-cooled era, Porsche was typ­i­cally mak­ing 10,000 to 12,000 911s an­nu­ally. Now it­makes three times as­many 911s, plus an­other 20-odd-thou­sand Boxsters and Cay­mans. And yet it is some­how less a sports car­maker than be­fore? Hardly.

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