Does the Taycan pose an internal threat?
For months, the all-new Porsche Taycan has been taking all of the attention away from the brand's other four-door model, the Panamera. The Porsche Panamera, now in its second generation, has been around since 2009 and was the automaker's first-ever production sedan. The Taycan also has four doors, but because it's Porsche's first EV, it's only natural for it to be in the spotlight. But this poses the question: does the Panamera have a future or could the Taycan eventually replace it outright? Speaking to Automotive News Europe, Porsche R&D boss Michael Steiner made one thing very clear about the Panamera: it's not going anywhere for now.
Asked whether there were plans to discontinue the Panamera's MSB rear-wheel-drive platform, Steiner said the following: "The Panamera platform is not old, it debuted in 2016. We still have a lot of ideas for it in terms of infotainment and connectivity. But there is currently no plan to replace this platform, instead, we want to keep it fresh and attractive as long as possible."
But it's the last part of this answer that could spell trouble for the Panamera in the years ahead. While Steiner remained committed to the current generation Panamera, he never said anything about a third-gen model. The first and second-gen Panameras each ride on different platforms, as the current MSB architecture also underpins the Bentley Continental GT and Flying Spur.
There have been past rumors it could also be utilized for a future Porsche grand touring coupe, sort of a front-engined V8 928 successor. It's unknown whether that MSB-based coupe will come to fruition given Porsche's new EV focus. Could a 928 successor be an EV? Way too soon to know.
The Panamera, which continues to play a significant role in expanding Porsche's appeal to new and returning customers, appears to be safe. For now.
Last year, a total of 6,625 examples were sold in the US. The year prior, sales reached an all-time annual high of 8,114. To compare, all 911 variants combined saw 9,265 units sold in 2019. The Macan? 22,667. The coronavirus pandemic will surely hurt 2020 sales figures, but that's beyond any automaker's control. Looking ahead, Porsche will doubtless be keeping a close eye on Panamera versus Taycan sales because, one day, it may not make sense to have both.