The Image of Exclusivity

In his May 12, 2015 article Taking the Fast Lane in the Handelsblatt Global Edition, Christian Schnell (schnell means fast in German) wrote about Porsche’s success in the U.S.

“Porsche keeps setting sales records in the United States, with double-digit percentage growth over four years. Of 190,000 Porsche’s sold last year, 47,000 were delivered to U.S. customers. The brand, part of the Volkswagen Group, has grown sales by double-digit figures for four years straight.”

Porsche is a niche player. It has a U.S. market share of only 0.4 percent. “It shouldn’t become much more than that to protect the car’s image of exclusivity, in Porsche’s view.”

“We have not set a figure as a target. Instead, we want to get a sense of how much we can expand the brand,” said Porsche-CEO Matthias Müller. “We’d rather sell a car less than one too many.”

Schnell noted: “At other companies, such elitist thinking has led to conflicts.” In 2014 the chief executive of Ferrari, Luca die Montezemolo, said he only wanted to build 7,000 cars per year. “The statement angered Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Ferrari’s parent company Fiat.” Not long thereafter, Montezemolo was out of a job.

It was an incident which the Porsche-CEO could not understand. “If Mr. Marchionne thinks he can turn Ferrari into a mass market brand I can only say: ‘A very warm welcome’.”