The privileged few get invited to check them out, learn about the offer, and decide if they want to buy. Most often, they say yes and spend millions of dollars. These people aren't flippers. They are true, loyal, and, of course, well-off fans of the brand.
The fact that the cars they are buying end up being worth a lot more than what they paid is also a strong incentive to sign the relevant paperwork.
But let's say you don't want to buy an SF90 XX Spider or an 812 Competizione A. Maybe you want a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Although Porsche is still selling cars through a global network of dealerships, it lets you know the MSRP of all its models via its online configurator. It does not keep the price tags a secret like other high-end brands do. There's an initial connection that can happen without feeling the pressure of having salespeople looking at you or trying to sway you one way or the other.
The Porsche wayThe coveted road-legal race car with a cost that starts from nearly EUR 270,000 in Europe, over CAD 301,000 in Canada, around GBP 193,000 in the UK, and almost USD 245,000 in the US, is nothing but short of amazing. It may not have over 1,000 hp on tap like the Tesla Model S Plaid or the Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance.
However, it will allow you to play with those 518 ponies in a way that few cars can. Thanks to extensive aero and suspension work, that 3,196-lb Porsche is a track masterpiece you can race and then drive home. It is not a delicate Italian car that needs a lot of care after doing a few laps.
So, it's unsurprising that a gearhead with enough money and a Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato in the garage wanted to buy a 911 GT3 RS. He went into an authorized dealership, ready to sign the buyer's agreement and wire the necessary downpayment. After all, these companies that act as middlemen are businesses. They wouldn't say no to your business, right? Wrong!
The salesman he talked to didn't even hesitate to underline that he needed a good relationship with the Stuttgart-based marque, which meant that he had to have bought "a ridiculous amount of cars to even be put on the list." The sales rep gave another customer as an example. He pointed out that a person bought around seven cars per year and spent approximately two million British pounds (USD 2.52 million) before being considered eligible for that special place in the group of potential future owners of limited-edition models.
Keeping it realThat's right. Buying many high-volume, costly cars that might depreciate consistently in a couple of years doesn't guarantee a production slot for something like the 911 GT3 RS. Many people know about this product strategy and take advantage of it. A low-supply, brilliant vehicle will attract a lot of interest. They snatch a slot, pay for the car, and then put it up for sale despite risking being added to a blacklist. That's why you'll see very low-mileage units selling for almost double the MSRP.
But YouTuber and businessman Mark McCann did not give up. He made a list of all the authorized Porsche centers in the UK and started calling around. The first few answers he got were very similar to what the first salesman told him.
Eventually, someone called back and let him know that he could buy a 911 GT3 RS from another owner who was looking to get rid of his unit through the dealership he had bought it from for just GBP 365,000. That's GBP 172,000 over the manufacturer's suggested retail price (with the value-added tax included) and GBP 100,000 over what the seller originally paid.
The saleswoman telling him about the offer over the phone quickly pointed out that the owner's asking price was attractive because it allowed him to avoid building up a portfolio of around 10 depreciating Porsches and risking not getting an allocation even with every member of the family driving a Macan EV, a 718, a Cayenne, a Taycan, or a Panamera. For all intents and purposes, it was the quickest and, believe it or not, cheapest way to own a (slightly used) 911 (992) GT3 RS.
Mission: ImpossibleMcCann asked a luxury car reseller about getting that special Porsche at list price, and he confirmed without a doubt that nobody pays that sum. You will always have to spend a lot more.
He also learned about another risk – the salesperson leaving the dealership. If you do spend loads of money on cars you may not necessarily want or need to secure a place on "the list," you could end up in a very strange situation if the rep is fired or moves to another company that sells different vehicles.
Granted, that's not going to happen often because these salespeople are incentivized to keep such well-off customers close. But if it does, you will have yet another headache.
But not even that discouraged McCann from trying yet again to get a 911 GT3 RS at list price. He went to another dealer and told them about the Porsches he owned. Mind you, he had two Carrera GTs, among other cars. That didn't matter. The salesman told him it was an "invitation-only car."
A lot of money at stakeAll this may seem like "rich people problems." However, it's an issue that should attract the attention of Porsche executives and yours, too.
On one hand, you have people who are willing to spend lots of money for an allocation, and they may or may not get it. On the other hand, you have flippers that will immediately resale that precious race car for the roads. At the same time, the brand risks turning loyal customers into flippers once they realize how much money they spent to obtain that invitation, and the novelty wears off.
Porsche wants to control the supply of limited-edition cars that can become iconic as time goes by, which is understandable. But it should also think of its customers who are true fans of the brand and maybe spent years of their lives working hard to be able to afford such impressive machines.
Coming up with a solution won't be easy, but it's necessary. This can't go on forever.