Prior Convictions: Pondering the Porsche Passport


It's not for everyone, is the thing, I suppose. The Porsche Passport has been launched in the US, and it's curious. For some it will be an entirely compelling way to have a car. But does it represent the beginning of a step change in the way we own, or use, cars? This, as yet, I'm not so sure about.

One set of weekend wheels...
One set of weekend wheels...
In case you missed it, the premise is simple enough. You're leasing a car. In this case it's a Porsche, but you don't have to have it all the time if you don't want to; and you can swap willy nilly between certain Porsches.

There are two tiers - the more you pay, the more expensive the cars you have access to. So it's somewhere between a conventional lease deal and a car club.

What's in it for you, then? Well, it depends who you are. If it's for you, I guess you'll know it. You can have a car that suits your needs, when it suits your needs. If you live in town, are short of parking space and they charge you a fortune for a parking permit, it's ideal. You can still have a practical car and a sports car, which could be beyond you otherwise. Only one at a time, but it's not like you can drive two cars at once anyway. I can see why you would.

Then, I can see why you wouldn't. Not just because, presumably, there won't be a 718 Cayman for everyone and a driver to swap them all at the same time; so if you all want one at once, on a Friday afternoon before a bank holiday, you might be out of luck. I suppose we'll find out how that goes, though.

... can be swapped very easily. Simple, right?
... can be swapped very easily. Simple, right?
But also I can see you wouldn't because, well, it depends how you like enjoying your cars. Routinely swapping cars - as I have discovered - is a brilliant way to lose phone chargers and Haribos. And if you enjoy the ownership experience, if you love it and cherish and nurture your car it's a like a pet. Then, well, it'd be like timesharing your cat. How could you? Look at his little face. But people do buy, sell, borrow, and share horses, I suppose. They find an outcome that meets their income.

So what's in it for Porsche? For one it's broadening its appeal: there will be those who won't buy a Porsche who'll sign up for this. But even where Porsche is talking to people it already knows, there are advantages.

Demand for used cars is, generally, higher than it is for new cars, and even though Porsche doesn't suffer from oversupply like mainstream car makers, I suspect it'll quite like to have a decent supply of used stock. Mainstream car makers find myriad and devious ways of getting new cars quickly onto the used market - massive fleet discounts, pre-registration, giving dealers big bonuses to find cars homes - which isn't an option easily open to a premium brand.

But what if you get attached?
But what if you get attached?
Would, though, the scheme soften residual values? That, I suppose, is a risk. Or a benefit, depending on who you are. But car more sales, more dealer stock, more profit: you can see what's in it for Porsche.

So why might this not be the start of something revolutionary within the industry? I don't doubt car sharing will increase, but it won't be like this. Why not? Because they can't do it. Some car makers don't have a big enough range, some others aren't appealing enough, and profit margins are too small to lay on what is a personnel-heavy scheme. Do you fancy swapping the Jazz for a CR-V this weekend, darling? Frankly, dear, I don't give a monkey's.

So it's not for everyone. That much is true for potential buyers. But, I suspect, it's even truer for manufacturers.

 

Comments (32) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Dale487 13 Oct 2017

    I see it as the natural extension of their driving experience days. I also understand Volvo are going to do something similar with the XC40, which allows temporary access to a bigger Volvo (with certain rules).

    It seems like a great idea as you can have the right car for the right occasion - 718 for normal use & a Macan for the once in blue moon when you need a 5 seater or the other way round.

    Do you get a car 365 days a year with this scheme? And do other customers get to drive "your car" (the one you usually have in your care) whilst you're off in a 718?

    If this expands to the UK just be careful of an one owner ex-Porsche UK car.

  • Scottie - NW 13 Oct 2017

    If I was looking for a user Porsche I'd be doing everything I could to avoid one that has come from this scheme, so am not sure it is the answer to used stock.

    Even at a year old the car could have had a hundred drivers ragging it from cold etc. and the model of car "buying" makes me think drivers will treat the cars much less well than a one owner private owned car.

  • Toltec 13 Oct 2017

    At $2000 per month you are just buying/leasing two or three cars anyway, I can see the appeal though if you have money to burn, a Porsche fetish and only own a home with one parking space.

    Could be a bit irritating working out what options have been fitted to the Cayman that has been delivered for this weekend.

    Edited by Toltec on Friday 13th October 16:25

  • Henners 13 Oct 2017

    It's interesting, particularly if I could have a car 365 and swap quite a bit - the reason I don't have a lease is the longer lock in.

    I suppose it's sort of the same ilk as what Apple do in the US wth phones - pay £x/mth and upgrade every year, or something.


  • TooMany2cvs 13 Oct 2017

    Scottie - NW said:
    If I was looking for a user Porsche I'd be doing everything I could to avoid one that has come from this scheme, so am not sure it is the answer to used stock.

    Even at a year old the car could have had a hundred drivers ragging it from cold etc. and the model of car "buying" makes me think drivers will treat the cars much less well than a one owner private owned car.
    <nods> Who'd buy an ex-rental Porsche...?

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