Porsche Fights Gray Market Import Threat
Nearly 10% of the Americans who buy new Porsche sports cars get them from so-called gray market importers, and the company said Monday that it would fight back with aggressive marketing techniques.
John Cook, president of Porsche’s U.S. sales subsidiary, also said the company eventually will make all of its European models available to U.S. buyers, will offer extended warranties and will hold down prices for the second consecutive year.
Gray market cars, mainly expensive models built for Europe, are sold by unauthorized importers who modify them to meet U.S. safety and pollution laws. The most sought-after gray market cars are European Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and BMW models.
The asking prices often are far below those charged by conventional dealers. Also, the gray market importers bring in certain models that aren’t otherwise available here.
Cook said the gray market has little impact on the profits of the West German corporate parent Porsche AG, since the profit on a sale made in Europe is roughly equal to one made here.