911 JUST KEEPS ON SELLING
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.