You get the sense that some people at Porsche stuck their necks out a little bit to make the new, manual-transmission 911 GT3 a reality. Sure, many enthusiasts had been clamoring for such a car, but would they actually buy it?
It turns out, a surprising number of them did. Especially in United States.
On the sidelines of the LA Auto Show yesterday, Klaus Zellmer, CEO of Porsche Cars North America, told Road & Track that a full 50 percent of GT3s sold in the US have been manual-equipped. That's a lot more than anyone at Porsche expected—including Zellmer, who bet GT3 boss Andreas Preuninger the stick-shift wouldn't sell.
"I lost of a crate of wine to Andreas over it," Zellmer told R&T. "I said, 'well, I think it'll be 20 percent,' but I knew 20 percent was probably too little. But I would have never guessed it'd be 25 percent or more."
Zellmer thinks that manual take-rate for the GT3 could decrease over time, since a lot of early orders were placed by those who'd been waiting for this car, but it's still a big number. Zellmer told us he's "amazed" at the response for this car.
Outside the US, manual take-rate for the GT3 is lower. Zellmer didn't have exact figures when we spoke, but figure around 25 percent of worldwide customers opt for the third pedal.
So what did this strong US demand prove?
"It confirms that we have to listen to our customers," Zellmer said. He admits that there was a genuine risk in offering a manual for the GT3, but clearly, it paid off.