New models: 190 Porsche Macan Prototypes

I passed my first Porsche Macan on the road last Monday. Charging around the M42 motorway, a black 14-plate Macan Turbo in spotless condition was besmirched by the dirtiest car on the road: my hard-used 2004 Cayenne S.

I didn’t take much notice until I was pretty close, but Macan shape and style is quite handsome. It looked big enough to be useful as a people mover, but I wonder what condition the Macan will be in five or six years, when cash buyers like me start considering them.

Porsche Macan Testing 3

Macan is made in Leipzig, alongside Cayenne and the Panamera. The production process is well worked out, as it should be thanks to Christoph Beerhalter. A name not heard much in public, Beerhalter is one of those engineers who goes methodically about his business, leaving a quiet revolution in his wake.

Porsche and Toyota Production Methods

When Porsche was hampered by high production costs due to inefficiency in the early 1990’s, Beerhalter was at the front line of sorting it out. Taking inspiration from all sorts of industrial production including the much-discussed Toyota school of kaizen, Beerhalter used what he’d learned from efficient organisations and applied it to Porsche production at the new Leipzig factory.

Porsche Macan Testing 2

Twenty years later, Beerhalter’s name is on a number of Porsche production patents, and the Macan is built on perhaps the most efficient production line in the world. Everything from where the trains carrying Macans for export should enter the site to where the production line screws should be kept has been optimised. Control of production costs (and charging a whacking great price for new models) means that Porsche margins sit around 18% – almost twice that of some competitors and up to six times what the parent brand claims for Polo and Golf.

Porsche Macan Tested: 190 Prototypes

It’s still early days in the Porsche Macan’s life, but the margins don’t seem to have come at reduced cost of development. Knowing full well that Macan would have to hit the ground running, the company invested heavily in prototype testing, building a staggering 190 prototypes, according to a Christophorus interview with Uwe Schneider, Porsche’s head of overall vehicle development.

Porsche Macan Testing 1

“Only in a real prototype do we see how the vehicle reacts under real-life conditions,” said Schneider. “For every Porsche, those real conditions include use at the limits of performance. No simulation, no matter how good, can determine the wear on the vehicle after 150,000 kilometers on real roads and testing grounds.”

Porsche Macan Recall

The first Porsche Macan recall has already been issued for problems with brake servo fitment. As a brand new model, no doubt there’ll be more, but the real test is long term. I’m not the only used Porsche cash buyer waiting to see how quickly used prices drop to affordable levels, and how real-life reliability stands up over time.

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