Porsche’s Future Depends On Higher-Dollar Variants of High-Dollar Sports Cars
Fun fact: The average German Porsche buyer paid 20% over MSRP on options and customization alone last year.
The endless list of options on Porsche's online configurators isn't just fun to play with. It's also highly lucrative for Porsche, and along with special editions and upmarket trims, it's a key source of profit that Porsche is banking on for future success according to the company's initial public offering (IPO) prospectus released Monday.
The prospectus is a document released alongside an IPO that describes a company's operations in depth alongside the terms of the IPO and anything else they want to tell investors interested in purchasing shares of a company. For a car company, a prospectus often includes some insights on recent and future products and overall company strategy. Porsche's prospectus makes it loud and clear that they've taken the hot markets for GT-car allocations and paint-to-sample-focused Instagrams to heart, and states proudly that they're looking to cater to high-end consumers.
Demand has grown for special edition Porsches in recent years, the prospectus notes, and Porsche wants to ride that wave all the way to the bank. "The share of vehicles with a selling price of over EUR 200,000 increased significantly between 2019 and 2021 in part due to increasing Deliveries of GT and Special Edition models and increasing penetration of Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur," reads the prospectus.
Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur allows customers to heavily customize their Porsches, and sometimes they work on limited-run models like the recent Porsche 911 Sally Special as well. The prospectus calls out the 911 Sport Classic—another special edition designed by Exclusive Manufaktur—as an example of a car that sold out quickly with its 1,250-car limited run and $273,750 base price, so it's safe to say we can expect Porsche to play around more with limited editions like it in the future.
Yet the prospectus also notes the success of its higher trims and standard but still lengthy options list, noting not only the vast difference in price between a base-model Porsche and that model's highest trim but also the overwhelming popularity of extra options on top of that.
"On average, across its six model lines, there is a premium of over 100% between the price of the entry-level model and the top-end model with price points over EUR 200,000 on selected models," the prospectus reads. "In 2021, only a minority of customers purchased entry-level models without further options and customization."
The prospectus includes a pricing table of each model's pricing in Germany that compares the base model price with a model's highest trim—for example, the price of a standard Taycan versus a Taycan Turbo S Sport Turismo, both excluding VAT and further options—and frankly, it's wild.
This holds up in the United States, too. The Macan is the cheapest model sold here and the least extreme example, starting at $57,500 before taxes, fees and options, but its highest Macan GTS trim starts at $82,900. Yet the 718 model range is where it devolves into absolute ridiculousness, with a base 718 Cayman starting at $63,400 before taxes, fees and options, and its highest model, the 718 Cayman GT4 RS, starting at $149,100—nearly three times the base car's price.
The wide range of available models combined with that famous options list has contributed heavily to Porsche's bottom line in recent years. Per the prospectus, sales of cars that sell for over $200,000 after options in the United States have jumped 18% from 2019 to 2021. In Germany, sales over €200,000 jumped 33% in the same timeframe. In Germany, customers in 2021 paid an average of 20% over Porsche's base MSRP for options and customization. This is the company that figured out how to get customers to pay to leave things off of a vehicle, after all, but it is wild to see exactly how much Porsche buyers will pay to option a new car exactly how they want.
So, while I'd personally love to see an even cheaper Porsche come out—944 revival, anyone?—this prospectus makes it clear that Porsche's product strategy is focused on the opposite end of the market. If you're bummed that you missed out on the last limited-production special 911, though, don't worry—there will almost certainly be more of those, and they'll probably even encourage you to color-match it to your cat.
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