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Auto blogMon, 17 Nov 2014 17:59:00 EST
Looking at the current automotive landscape, especially from German makers, you quickly get the impression that less definitely isn't more. BMW alone offers its 3 Series platform in practically every segment possible, including the regular sedan and 4 Series Gran Coupe, which would seem to be direct competitors. Porsche might be the winner, though, with 20 different variants of the 911 listed for sale on its US website. However, some of this model madness might be reaching an end as companies begin cutting back spending or shifting money to other priorities.
According to Yahoo Finance, the offerings from the German automakers are up 25 percent over the past three years to over 200 models in Europe. The peak is expected to come around 2018 at 230 separate vehicles, according to consulting company PwC.
Amazingly, BMW, which is among the poster children for this model explosion, might be changing its tune. "I'm sure there will be points in the future where we look at certain cars and say, 'Maybe we need to think differently now,'" said head of sales Ian Robertson in an interview, according to Yahoo Finance. The statement certainly sounds shocking coming from a company rumored to have 23 front-wheel-drive vehicles all using a single platform on the way.
Times are tough in Europe right now, and that unfortunately has reaped disastrous consequences for some of its smallest niche automakers. Gumpert, Wiesmann, Artega and Lola have all filed for bankruptcy this year, and it appears that tuners are not immune to the tough times, either.
Word coming in from across the pond suggests that 9ff and SpeedArt - two of the biggest names in Porsche tuning - have filed for bankruptcy as well. 9ff is best known for the GT9, a radical hypercar barely based on the 911, while SpeedArt was once of the foremost tuners of Porsches.
Fortunately there are still plenty of tuners ready to take a wrench to your Elfen, but the reported demise of these two makes the market a little bit smaller and - for Porsche enthusiasts - maybe the world a little bit lonelier, too.
The next time you're waiting for a flight at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, see if you can spot a Porsche Cayenne or Panamera zipping between aircraft on the busy tarmac. The high-performance German vehicles aren't there practicing for an upcoming autocross; they are tasked with whisking some of the airline's most important customers between flights so they can keep their busy schedules intact.
Launched nearly two years ago, the program has proven popular with the automaker, airline and passengers as all benefit from the unique arrangement. Atlanta-based Porsche is able to showcase its cars to Delta's frequent-flying Medallion members, the airline is recognized for providing unusual perks to its high-value customers and those fortunate enough to be surprised with a quick lift are able to make connections without a stressful run through the terminal. Based on its success, the airline is rolling our similar programs in New York, Los Angeles and Minneapolis this month.
And don't think Porsche is the only automaker working with an airline to entice its frequent flyers. Mercedes-Benz ran a program over the summer that offered purchasing and leasing incentives to MileagePlus Premier members of United Airlines, and the two are currently shuttling top fliers around Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport in the automaker's S-Class and GL-Class models.