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Auto blogFri, 14 Mar 2014 18:31:00 EST
It's a good time to be in the luxury car business. In Volkswagen Group's financial report for the 2013 fiscal year, it is revealed that that Porsche enjoyed an operating margin of 18 percent. That means the Stuttgart brand made on average about $23,200 per car sold, according to BusinessWeek. Bentley wasn't far behind, and Audi (which was combined with Lamborghini) posted a 10.1 percent margin. This compares to only around 2.9 percent for the Volkswagen brand.
"Luxury brands are on fire," said Dave Sullivan, an industry analyst at AutoPacific. He said that the average profit margin is between six and eight percent. Brands like Porsche and Bentley have the benefit of competing in rarefied markets. Buyers looking at one their vehicles have fewer models to shop against and don't care as much about price. They can also charge more for options, which further boosts income, according to BusinessWeek.
In a way, we should be more impressed by the continued success from Audi. Its models generally have direct competitors in every segment from the other premium automakers. Plus, their buyers aren't the captains of industry who are shopping for a Bentley. Still, the Four Rings is leading rivals in sales so far this year.
Each year at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, a single marque is celebrated with a large and ornate "Central Feature" sculpture, with recent automakers including Audi in 2009, Alfa Romeo in 2010, Jaguar in 2011 and Lotus last year. This year, Porsche gets the honor, and it is using the opportunity to commemorate 50 years of the 911.
The sculpture features three generations of the 911 towering over the Goodwood House. The most recent 991 911 has the lowest position, with an original 1963 car second highest and a 1973 2.7 RS at the top of the pile. Be sure to check out the sculpture for yourself in the gallery of images above.
The Porsche 911 is a special car, if for no other reasons than it's been continuously produced since 1964, with nearly every generation regarded as being at or near the top of its class. But why the rear-engined icon has done so well among enthusiasts and regular drivers alike can't always be explained easily. To truly understand the 911, you have to experience the whole package, and that means driving one.
While just about every publication has raved about the Porsche, commercial director, race driver, photographer and 911 owner Jeff Zwart explains to Petrolicious why he was drawn to the legend as a young child, and why he still loves them today.
Zwart's professional and personal life are inextricably linked to the 911, and hearing him talk about the car and its history makes for fascinating viewing. Watch the video below to hear Zwart's story and see him drive a couple examples from his collection: an early 911 and the 964-generation Carrera 4 he won Pikes Peak with for the first time - a car that happens to be equipped with the 959 Paris-Dakar's fascinating torque-split transmission. Enjoy!