Most Japs call them fast and furious. The Germans call them brand shapers. The English, on the other hand, prefer to discreetly describe them as gentleman’s toys. And the Italians, quite simply, call them sports cars.
But they have one disadvantage, a shortcoming, which sticks out like a sore thumb here. That is perhaps the reason why Stuttgart-based automotive manufacturer of luxury high performance automobiles, Porsche hurried to launch its Panamera here. The Panamera has four doors instead of two, an aberration for a sports car. But Indians love four doors.
Rod Wallace, MD at Porsche India, says he is planning to sell 50 Panameras here in the next 12 months. Of the nearly 200 cars that Porsche will manage to roll off its showroom, the four-door sports utility vehicle, Cayenne will form the biggest chunk.
The new Panamera is slated to come in next with the all-important numbers. But what happened to legends such as the Boxster, the 911 and the Cayman? Are Ferrari and Aston Martin listening? Top industry sources say these blue-blooded automobile brands are planning to drive in by next year.
Says Wallace: "India is a family-oriented nation. A person buying a two-door car might be looked upon as being self indulgent and selfish. So, the Panamera, which can be called your everyday sports car, will rake in the numbers for us. We have already sold half of our proposed stock for the year. I feel we have underestimated the demand." The Panamera retails for more than Rs 1.5 crore. In contrast, the in-your-face sporty convertible Boxster retails for roughly Rs 62 lakh.
Then just a few days ago, another German carmaker BMW launched its delicious Rs 60-lakh Z4, a two-door roadster here. Says a BMW spokesperson, "We are not looking for volumes with such products. It’s a niche segment. We call such products brand shapers."