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Market Insight: Porsche’s shifting customer base
Porsche sales climbing with addition of Taycan but its SUVs get customer attention
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3 May 2022
By NEIL DOWLING
THE world’s most profitable sportscar manufacturer continues on its upward trend, although the customer base these days is most definitely not in the types of vehicle on which Porsche built its reputation.
Porsche’s right-hand turn to SUVs in 2002 upset purists but made company accountants ecstatic. It sold its one-millionth Cayenne in 2020, 18 years after launch, which represents one third of the time it took Porsche to sell its one-millionth 911 in 2017.
That is, it took 53 years for Porsche to sell the very car that identifies the brand and is idolised by enthusiasts and yet only 18 years to sell the car that many purists dismiss as nit truly representing the marque. Go figure.
In 2022, the brand is building to a strong result despite production hiccups caused by the semiconductor shortage and some holdups for selected models in wiring loom supplies from Ukraine.
Much of the attention this year will again surround the SUVs and special edition launches of existing models, such as the less-expensive electric Taycan with rear-wheel drive, and the 911 Sport Classic.
In year-to-date to March data, the Macan is clearly Porsche’s best seller with 825 sales in the first three months of 2022 – not surpassed in the eight years it has been on sale – which more than doubled the combined 405 sales of the Cayenne in wagon and coupe bodystyles.
Much of the brand spotlight has been reflected away from the 911. Despite it embodying the core of the brand, the 911 holds a relatively minor 9.7 per cent of Porsche’s Australian sales (2021) compared with the Cayenne (19 per cent) and Macan (52.5 per cent).
Meanwhile, the headlining Taycan – Porsche’s first all-electric model – quickly achieved a 12 per cent share of the brand’s model mix.
In addition, the brand has elevated its exposure to potential customers through initiatives including the opening of the Porsche Studio – the first for Australia – at Eagers Automotive’s Automall West in Brisbane.
Among its products, there are no surprises that SUVs rule the car market. For some perspective, the Cayenne sold 1385 units in 2020 – the best result in eight years – so forms the backbone of the Porsche strength.
However, inheriting similar SUV versatility and a now-common silhouette, the Cayenne’s baby sister, the Macan, is soaking up almost twice as much sunshine.
In 2021 it sold almost twice as many examples as the Cayenne – 2328 for the Macan – but not quite matching the medium SUV’s best result, for the nameplate welcomed 2478 new owners in 2017.
Aside from the Macan’s position as entry point to the Porsche range, the success of the brand does not appear to have a lot to do with affordability.
The Boxster, introduced as a sales saviour in 1996 to boost attention from people who wanted a Porsche they could more easily afford, achieves fewer sales than it probably deserves.
Porsche sold 109 Boxsters in 2021 (2.5 per cent of Porsche sales) and its hardtop sister, the Cayman, sold 147 examples (3.3 per cent), at the bottom of the brand’s volume pecking order.
The mid-engined pair only beat the rather exclusive Panamera that recorded 48 sales in 2021, well shy of its 111 sales in the same period of 2017.
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