Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What Whiny Porsche Fans Can Learn From Saab

2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Photo courtesy Porsche Cars North America

If there's one thing in life I hate more than anything it's whiners. We all know people who are never satisfied with anything, who always pine after "the good ol' days" when everything was obviously so incredibly superior and who find fault in so much that surrounds them. Sadly there are many Porsche fans who fall into the whiner category.

I love Porsches and don't have anything against the brand or the culture in general, just to get things straight before I continue.

2013 Porsche Boxster S. Photo courtesy Porsche Cars North America
The Porsche fan whining picked up when the 911 switched from air-cooling to water-cooling, with people declaring the car was "ruined" and wouldn't be as reliable. I know Porsche fans and owners who still swear the only "real" 911s are air-cooled models. In more modern times Porsche fans complained like hell when the Boxster was introduced in the '90s. These people called the Boxster all kinds of names and some still refuse to accept it as a "real" Porsche. The truth is the Boxster likely saved Porsche from going into bankruptcy, and who knows where that would have led.

In recent years there has been quite a bit of whining going on about the Porsche Cayenne and Panamera. Personally, most of the people I've known who complain about these two models are people who haven't driven them, while those who have say they are amazing vehicles (especially the Turbo models). But of course people complain that they are front-engine, larger vehicles that are better suited for everyday driving and so that means they're not "real" Porsches (okay, there are other reasons cited for this not-a-real-Porsche classification, but they're just as silly in my opinion).

2013 Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Photo courtesy Porsche Cars North America
Even if you think the Cayenne is ridiculous and you lust after a 911, you can't get away from the fact that Porsche is now flush with cash thanks to its SUV and sedan. In the United States alone half of all Porsches sold are Cayennes, making it a huge cash cow for the company. I say anything that allows Porsche to build more versions of the 911 is a good thing, not to mention other high-performance models like the Cayman R.

These whiny Porsche fans could learn a thing or two from watching Saab and its ugly, slow death as an automaker. Saab was like Porsche back in the day: both automakers produced very few cars that fit into a niche in the market. The big difference has been that Porsche has expanded out into more mainstream product channels, meanwhile Saab engaged in some badge engineering with a Subaru Impreza wagon and a Chevy Trailblazer of all things! Saab could still be alive today if it had produced vehicles like its too-little-too-late 9-4 back when things weren't so grim (and it wasn't owned by GM). Porsche fans could be crying about the death of their beloved automaker at the hands of GM or some other automotive behemoth that loves to buy companies and then destroy those companies like a child pulling the legs off an ant before frying it slowly with a magnifying glass.

So to the Porsche fans who are still whining and bitching and moaning about the Cayenne, the Panamera and other upcoming "baby" versions of these models, I say stop your whining and enjoy the fact Porsche is around and doing so well!