Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Looking For A Substitute

According to AdWeek, Porsche Cars North America has picked a consulting firm for the review of their $25 million account. Minneapolis agency Carmichael Lynch has handled the creative portion of the account since 1999. They are responsible for the famous Porsche 911 tagline, "There is no substitute". They are also expected to defend the account. "The review is linked to the client's promotion of David Pryor to the position of svp, marketing, as well as Porsche's planned launch of a four-door sedan in 2009" (AdWeek). The sedan, called the Porsche Panamera, will feature a hybrid gas-electric engine. The same engine will be made available sooner for the Cayenne, Porsche's sporty SUV.

Porsche had also considered remodeling higher up in the ranks. "Piech, whose grandfather Ferdinand Porsche designed the original Volkswagen Beetle, reached an agreement last month with Wulff to remain chairman for another five-year term after he received the backing of the 10 labor representatives on the 20- member board. Piech, 69, was previously set to step down next month because of shareholder opposition to his dual roles as Volkswagen chairman and a member of Porsche's board" (Bloomberg.com).

Porsche USA's lineup currently consists of the 911, Boxster, Cayman, and Cayenne.

Carmichael Lynch does great creative work, and I'm sad to see that Porsche is considering parting ways. But I am glad to see that CL is contesting. Bloomberg tells us that Ferdinand Piech has schemed a slow takeover in Volkswagen, so we'll see what happens there.

The Panamera is a four-door sports sedan. Rumors are that it may run from $60-125K; with a turbocharged V8, it will be up there. Porsche has taken a risk with the Cayenne SUV, but they have kept their vehicles fast and powerful. Porsche should remain in the same market - the affluent buyers one.

A handful of automakers have learned from their decision to please every one that they won't be great for very long. Volkswagen aimed its Phaeton luxury sedan to compete against the BMW 7-Series, Mercedes S-Class and Lexus LS, and it lost terribly. "In the 18 months since VW launched the Phaeton in September 2003, it has sold just 2,506 examples of the ultra-luxury sedan. That's an average of only 140 cars per month. During the same time period, Mercedes-Benz sold 31,536 examples of its S-Class" (Edmunds.com).

You can't be great at every thing. Face it. There is someone out there who is better than you at something else. I believe the Germans are smart enough to not make the same mistake again.

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