In the automotive industry, there is a practice known as benchmarking. As the word implies, benchmarking is when a carmaker compares its product with an existing competitor.
We’ve always known this practice exists. We’ve spoken to automotive engineers about the cars they benchmark their own products against. But we never got to ask if the competitors they measure were purchased, borrowed or leased. Thanks to an interesting report from Automotive News, we now know how one prominent car brand did its research.
Porsche recently discovered that a 911 GT3 belonged to the Honda NSX development team. The German sports car in question was brought to a dealer to fix an issue regarding the engine connecting rods. Using the Porsche’s black box, it was deduced who the real owner of the 911 GT3 was.
When the owners got the car back, they saw a message written under the engine cover. It said: “Good luck Honda from Porsche. See you on the other side.”
Apparently, the 911 GT3 wasn’t the only performance vehicle Honda purchased for benchmarking purposes. It also acquired a McLaren 12C, although it wasn’t caught this time. The NSX development team said the Brits did notice something unusual about the supercar. The McLaren dealership asked where they reached 205mph (328kph) in the 12C, and what track they used.
It’s all in a day’s work for these companies. It could even be considered good-natured teasing on the part of Porsche. In the end, serious manufacturers will do anything legally possible to ensure its product measures up against the best.