When American owners of Porsche Boxsters, Camaros and Caymans have to exchange their keys for something new, they usually opt for another selection within the Porsche family. However, for those who choose to go elsewhere, guess what they buy most often instead?
Go ahead and throw away all the sports cars that you start listing. How about this vehicle: the Jeep Wrangler. It’s a little weird; You may think that car owner, especially the Mustangs, Camaros and Challengers, would be a little more attached to their vehicles. After all, these cars are American icons, status symbols and a total pleasure to drive — even small turbo 4-cylinder engines.
But sales of muscle cars have fallen in recent years. Challenger sales are essentially stable, but the Mustang and Camaro are losing customers (notably the Camaro, threatened with abandonment). All these Customers are making a quick swap for the Jeep Wrangler
If you are surprised, you are certainly not alone. Klaus Zellmer, CEO of Porsche North America, says with amusement that his German executives are completely confused by the idea that Americans are negotiating their precisely designed Porsche sports cars for a rough SUV equipped with a cart suspension. It would be like asking one of them to exchange their ultramodern yurt against a yurt in the forest.
The gap between the goals and the price of the 718 twins and Wrangler could not be wider. The only thing the Boxster and Wrangler have in common is the ability to remove their roofs. Consider this, however. Even though the cars themselves might not be different, buyers often buy them for the same reason: to serve as the third fun car. It’s not something to commute or take the kids to school. Just as someone drives a Boxster in the country for a busy workout on the weekend, so does a Wrangler owner – it’s just that the Wrangler gets a little muddy in the process.
Both vehicles also offer a distinctive sense of fashion and, ultimately, I think this is where this information is most telling. The craze for SUVs is not just for parents who need to understand that a Honda CR-V is more functional for their parenting lives than an Accord. The same goes for style, fashion and what they want to see. It is not surprising that the choice of car toys for the weekend is also beginning to move in this direction. I would not be surprised if the leaders of other sports car sales companies see similar numbers of conquest.
Frankly, that does not seem to be a trend that can change. A myriad of factors has led millennials not to be the most motivated. As they age and finally have (maybe) enough available income for a third car, a high-precision sports car will probably not be the most desirable choice. But a crude SUV on an oxcart suspension that can help them escape the traffic and head where they want in the great outdoors? It sounds feasible.