German sports car maker, Porsche, may soon be doing the unthinkable: offering at least one four cylinder powered model in their product mix.
Porsche, along with most other automakers, has suffered tremendously this year as sales have plunged by more than 17% through August 2008. In August, Porsche's sales were down a whopping 45%; both figures apply to the US market only.
A Four Cylinder Engine For Porsche?
The decision to build a car with a four cylinder engine hasn't been finalized, but it is something that Porsche believes that they must consider in order to garner more sales. Several years ago Porsche boldly expanded its product line up by adding an SUV, the Porsche Cayenne, a vehicle that alarmed purists but helped stoke the company's bottom line.
By introducing the Cayenne, Porsche contended that they were losing sales to BMW and Mercedes as families who needed more room were forced to look beyond Porsche's two-seater product offerings. With the SUV market expanding, adding this type of vehicle was deemed to be critical to helping Porsche.
Cayenne Sales Are Up For The Year
Apparently, Porsche is doing well with the Cayenne as its year to date truck sales are up almost 4% for the year, according to Autodata Corp. who tracks this information. Cayenne is the only vehicle sold by Porsche under the truck category.
If Porsche chooses to add a four cylinder engine to its product mix, it wouldn't be a strange engine for Porsche. As recently as the 1980s, both the Porsche 924 and 944 models offered four cylinder engines, a technology Porsche traces all the way back to the 1930s.
Targeting the Boxster
The likeliest recipient for a four cylinder engine would be the Porsche Boxster, the smallest and lightest of all Porsche models. Some analysts are theorizing that Porsche could easily make the transition to a four cylinder engine by removing two cylinders from a current six cylinder engine and coming up with a 2.4L flathead four cylinder.
Another option would be for Porsche to harvest an existing four cylinder engine from partner Volkswagen and modifying it according to their needs. The two automakers have a long history of sharing technology and co-developing vehicles with the Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne underpinned by the same truck platform.
Lastly, Porsche might also consider developing an all-new model, perhaps a four passenger sport sedan to expand its product line and to provide a fuel efficient model. That move would further infuriate Porsche loyalists, but in face of the current economic climate and concerns about global energy, a hotrod compact sedan might be the direction Porsche will go.