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Old 09-30-2004, 08:02 AM   #1
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MB caught Porsche with its pants down

Now if this little SLK55 AMG will cost around $60K and it's got 355hp... and the new 987S has only got 280hp... and with a couple of options will easily cost $60K... doesn't that qualify as Porsche getting caught with their pants down?

Now admittedly the MB doesn't come with a manual transmission and they are only building 1,000 of them... so the 987 will still hold some territory. But man... what a threat to this market segment. Here is a little quote from the article.
http://www.autoblog.com/entry/3734287975341619/

"355 horsepower and 376 pound feet of torque is a superb mix and will turn all Porsche Boxster S owners green with envy. Unfortunately the engine is matched to a seven-speed automatic with manual control on the steering wheel and shifter. Even without a manual transmission this beast is a beauty too."

...and here is a quote from the original edmunds.com article.
http://www.edmunds.com/reviews/roadtests/firstdrive/103166/article.html?tid=edmunds.h..wkedmunds.firstdrive.1 g.*

" ...the SLK55 AMG is a thoroughly competent sports car now, with everything it needs to be a comfortable, capable high-performance standout. The bad news is that the price will end up round about $60,000, and there will only be about 1,000 cars a year sent to the U.S. market, with the first shipment only weeks away."

It sounds like the theory of keeping the Boxster out of 911 territory only lets competitors move in on the segment. Porsche should just go for it and build a turbo Boxster to defeat cars like this AMG.

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Old 09-30-2004, 08:42 PM   #2
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Well I have to say that it looks a lot better than the cleaved off rear of the present MB. Personally I just don't see the MB brand as a sports oriented car. Their demographics is for phat cats. The Evian and Perrier water drinking yuppies. The new Boxster on the other hand is a true sports car that has styling and excellent performance. I think that we as a whole in the group are looking for a Boxster with 375 hp to beat everything out there. Guys our car is super great so what if it does not have 355 hp, styling is great, handling is absolutedtly great. What am I going to do race some idiot in the Long Island Expressway in the middle of the rush hour? In short I am happy with my car. If I would want a car that would be hard to pass I would get the Carrera GT. Now that is quick.
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Old 09-30-2004, 11:56 PM   #3
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Now that is interesting. I don't think MB is sports oriented. While this thing packs 375hp, the weight distribution and gear box probably would cut your envy to drive fast in the corners. And i don't think people buy this car to drive it fast. I race other cars on twisties road...BMW, subarus, AUDIs, (and other Porsches !!!) but I can't recall one single MB. This new SLK looks really good, but it's not a GO KART...Sure, on the autobahn the MB would be difficult to pass...but hey, its top speed is limited, the Boxster' is not and at 260kph, you have 10kph to play with :-)
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Old 10-01-2004, 06:14 AM   #4
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I reckon I'd have to drive it to judge it...numbers on paper and pretty pictures don't really do any car justice, not even the boxster.

Once I get to drive one, then I'll be able to make a better decision.
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Old 10-01-2004, 06:17 AM   #5
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One of my best friends owns an SLK 32 AMG (the version before the 55) and while it is stupid fast and has 350 HP, it has a totally different feel when compared to the Boxster. Riding in the Boxster really gives you the feel of riding in a sports car; the SLK feels more like riding in a sedan.

And like Jeannot pointed out, I'm always giving him a hard time about my car being faster because his limited. He always replies about wanted to drag race. All in all, its still a very nice car, however after getting to know his SLK I'll still stick with my Boxster.

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Old 10-01-2004, 06:37 AM   #6
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Yes, this feeling is not what I am looking for. The MB surely is a great car, but doesn't appeal to my driving instincts...
I love the SL (the bigger cabrio)...it is beautiful, classy, enormous power and torque...but ~2'000kg...hardly a sport car.
The SLK vs Boxster is the same thing as the MB SLR vs. the Carrera GT...Confort vs sport. (of course, this comment is extreme in case of the MB SLR, but McLaren engineers who designed it where angry at MB for making it so heavy with all the confort equipment...MB had the last word)...
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Old 10-01-2004, 08:15 AM   #7
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I agree with all you comments (from a porsche enthusiast's perspective) but step back and think of it from a marketing/business perspective for a sec.

Since Porshce is in business to sell cars they must consider all the market segments that buy their new cars. (not cater to... just consider). Many sports car buyers are not as interested in the kind of performance as all of us are. Many just want to look cool and drive a well equipped fancy car at high speeds on the freeway (oh yeah and pick-up chicks). Yes...yes I agree fat cat yuppies deserve little respect but Porsche would be stupid not to consider them in their plan.

In fact I think Porsche does a very good job including them, hence all the electronic stuff, leather, etc in the cars these days.

They are especially doing well with the 911s and Cayennes but Boxster sales have slumped. Actually the whole roadster segment has slumped due to ecomony, etc, but Porsche Boxster has really lost their share. Eight years ago Porsche was a very big player in the segment and has done very well here over the past years, but as always everyone else catches up (in terms of sales). Now Porsche isn't the leader here. :-(

In order for Porsche is to remain on top of the segment they must make another leap ahead. I think the 987 will prove to be a leap, but is it a *big enough* leap with competitors like that?... It is for me but is it for the fat cat yuppies?

The MB, Z4, S2000, etc etc are definitely different and I completely agree lesser cars in many ways.... and they are definitely targeted at a slightly different demographic... but I think its a larger segment than the one we define. I just want to see Porche continue to do well and build the wonderful cars they do... and competing successfully against this MB (and others) will only make them more money... AND... give us even better cars to drive.

Its a win-win... get it? Build higher performance cars for the fat cats to spend money on and we get better cars too. Lets say the 987S had at least 300hp (a more magical sounding number on paper than 280), and/or they offered a turbo version (or something) that came close to the MBs 355hp, and kept it close to the MB's price point. The fat cat yuppies would then have another option with a better sports reputation AND we would get better Boxsters.

win-win... or ... pants-down? (are you listening PCNA? heh)

...now I'll take my market/user research vp hat off... and put back on my Porsche enthusiast hat... and get back to my 987 order form. lol

p.s. here are a couple of links to sales figures if anyone is curious...

sept. sales:
http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/10-01-2004/0002263064&EDATE=

sept sales down 5%:
http://www.forbes.com/home/feeds/ap/2004/10/01/ap1570690.html
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Last edited by janzenms; 10-01-2004 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 10-01-2004, 05:54 PM   #8
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by janzenms
[B]I agree with all you comments (from a porsche enthusiast's perspective) but step back and think of it from a marketing/business perspective for a sec.


It is normal for sales to be down at the end of the model cycle. Let's see how wrong or right PCNA gauged the market with the sales figures of the new 987. The 300 hp engine is not that far away. With a tweak here and there I am sure that the figure is achievable quite easy. Right now the new 0-100 km is 5.2 sec. in the 987 with 5.7 sec on the 986. A 300 hp will bring that down to 4.9 perhaps. Is it necessary? NO but whowould not want that performance
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Old 10-03-2004, 09:33 AM   #9
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Talking pricing and positionning, I am curious to see how they will price the Boxster "Coupe" (SC)....Any thoughts?
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Old 10-03-2004, 07:46 PM   #10
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I'd guess about the same... although coupes are usually less expensive than cabs... so maybe they'll actually offer the standard boxster couple for less than 40K US msrp. That would make it considerable competition.
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Old 10-03-2004, 09:34 PM   #11
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Found a little article on the subject. Kind of interesting... found it on http://www.thecarconnection.com

Here is the page I found it on: http://www.thecarconnection.com/index.asp?n=156,175&sid=175&article=7619

"Is It Downhill for Roadster Market?

The U.S. roadster market is not likely to see another peak anytime soon, forecasts Peter Schwarzenbauer, CEO of Porsche Cars North America. The segment topped out at around 75,000 units in 1999, and is now operating at a "natural" level of around 50,000, said the German executive. That's not good news for Porsche, which is getting ready to launch a new version of its once-hot Boxster - shown by TCC in its coverage of the 2004 Paris Motor Show. In '99, Boxster sales hit 13,000, but this year, volume is running "a little under 6000," confided Schwarzenbauer. Even with the new car, Porsche expects to get Boxster sales back up only to "somewhere in-between those two numbers," the CEO suggested. At the same time, Schwarzenbauer admitted that there are so many "external" factors influencing the U.S. auto market right now that after 20 years in the business, "I've never seen it so complicated," nor as difficult to predict." The German automaker expects to have an average one new car or variant to introduce every six months going forward, company officials said in Paris. That includes the all-new 911, which went on sale recently. While the Boxster has lost much of its momentum, Schwarzenbauer is more optimistic about Porsche's flagship sports car and, he believes, for good reason. The 911 primarily appeals to motorists with household incomes of at least $200,000 annually. There are currently 2.6 million U.S. households that fit that description, but the number is forecast to jump 46 percent, to 3.8 million households, by 2012. To get those potential customers thinking about the 911, PCNA plans to launch a test drive "experience" program starting next January. Porsche is betting that once someone tries a 911, they'll be far more willing to buy one. -Paul A. Eisenstein"

Sounds like they know this segment is risky business and is putting its money into more sure things... like the 911 (& cayenne).

Not pants down afterall... more like betting on a sure thing. ;-)
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Last edited by janzenms; 10-03-2004 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 10-03-2004, 10:40 PM   #12
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Porsche is just being stupid. Looking at their sales figures for September '04 one can say the Boxster actually outsells the 911.

http://www.theautochannel.com/N/news/2004/10/01/241275.html?

The Boxster sells just fine for having only 2 models. Look at the individual numbers for each type of 911...most are quite a bit lower than the Boxster numbers.

Of course the 911 is going to have higher numbers overall when you add up all of the variants (coupe, targa, turbo, etc).

And if the Boxster was slowing in sales, shouldn't Porsche be promoting it to prop up sales instead of crying about it?

It's too bad the Boxster seems to be the red-headed stepchild...even in Porsche's eyes now that the Cayenne is the sales leader. You'd think that the car that practically saved Porsche (the Boxster) would get a little more respect.
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Old 10-04-2004, 06:27 AM   #13
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Maybe they should start a Boxster Cup (like the Carrera cup) to boost the image of the car? And we'd get a Boxster RS or something like that :-)
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Old 10-04-2004, 08:40 AM   #14
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There's rumours of a Boxster Coupe RS w/300hp. That should prop up sales nicely. Maybe Porsche do know what they're doing.
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Old 10-04-2004, 10:48 AM   #15
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would greatly p**s me off if they only release a boxster coupe in RS version and not the boxster ROADSTER which gave it its name...

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