Sunday, August 23, 2009

The new Porsche Panamera – Four-Door Fiasco?

Last week, Porsche unveiled the new 2010 Panamera, the German carmaker's first four-door luxury sedan. The new sedan, due to hit US showrooms in October, comes at the same time Porsche is being taken over by Volkswagen, joining a portfolio of brands that includes Audi, Bentley, and Lamborghini. With a price of $90,000 for the S model, rising to $132,600 for the Turbo, Porsche says the Panamera is designed to appeal to "customers who, over and above the exclusive comfort and spaciousness of a luxury saloon, also expect the consistent sporting performance so typical of a Porsche." But analysts, writers, and Porsche purists are giving the Panamera the same chilly reception that the Cayenne, Porsche's first SUV, received in 2003. As Peter Delorenzo writes in his AutoExtremist blog, the Panamera "marks the end of the historical legacy that once forged the reputation of Porsche, it’s a blatant repudiation of everything that its founder once stood for." So what would you do if you were responsible for the Porsche brand? How would you ensure a successful launch of the Panamera? And what steps would you take to reassure people that this does not mark the beginning of the end for the Porsche brand?