I feel that the letter from Andrew ‘Whyte of Jaguar Cars (Motor Sport, April) in which he states that the Porsche 911S is £2,000 more expensive in Britain than in Germany, cannot be accepted without comment by this company. The purpose of his letter was to correct the errors he infers were made by Mr. Carroll in your January edition, and in doing so he has made some rather vital errors himself. Amongst these must be the mischievously misleading quotation for the DM/ £ exchange rate, when the date he has selected for his example, the 7th January 1974, is the very day in the whole of the period from July 1973 to the present date, on which the pound was at its highest peak and the Mark at its lowest ebb!
As many of your readers will be aware, the Pound took its most serious dive since “floatation” during the period May/June 1973, when the buying rate against the Deutsche Mark plunged from 7.1 to 5.85 in a period of eight weeks, a fall of over 17i%. In the weeks following this fall, most importers adjusted their prices or imposed “surcharges” to allow for this fall, and I am sure that the “base rate” for price calculations of most importers from West Germany is now around DM 6/£. An analysis of our own Deutsche Mark purchases during the period 1st July 1973 to date shows that the average cost to this Company of Marks purchased is DM 6.05/£, around 6% more expensive than the rate quoted of DM 6.41/£.
Also, market specification details cannot be lightly brushed aside, since these are considerable, including of course the cost of right-hand-drive for around only 5% of Porsche production. A complete comparative breakdown to the very much fuller British specification is given for the 911S model selected by Mr. Whyte below, the first time— as far as I am aware—that an importer has published such a comparison. I have quoted retail prices without sales taxes (Car Tax and VAT in Great Britain, Mehrwertsteuer in Germany) since this is the only valid ‘comparison. I have also used a conversion rate of DM 6.05/£, as explained above.
As will be agreed, I am sure, this is not an excessive difference when considering that the British price includes import duty, shipping and insurance and does indeed hear out Mr. Carroll’s contention that Porsche prices in Germany and Britain are directly comparable.
As a final note, and to set the record straight, I note that the current pre-tax retail price in Germany for the XJ12 LAT Saloon is DM 39,775. If one assumes, being generous, a conversion rate from Marks to Pounds 6.10, as against the Pounds to Marks rate of 6.05, this gives a basic price for this model on the German market of £6,520, as against .£4,100 on the British market! Perhaps this difference can also be explained by model “enhancement?’ for the German market?
Isleworth P. T. Bulbeck
Porsche Cars (GB) Ltd.