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Frankfurt show: Mission E is the real deal
Porsche Australia confident the Mission E concept will make it Down Under
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18 Sep 2015
By TIM ROBSON in Frankfurt
DON’T call it a concept. That’s the message from the local arm of Porsche, who view the Frankfurt motor show-stopping Mission E four-door electric sportscar as “pioneering technology.”“The local view is consistent with the global view,” Porsche Australia head of corporate communications Paul Ellis told GoAuto. “This isn't fanciful stuff this isn't dreamworks. This is pioneering technology, which will make it into a Porsche road car.
“It's not a novelty, it's serious and we've learned a lot from the (Le Mans-winning) 919 hybrid race car and the 918 Spyder, and a lot of that electrification intellect has come through our cars.
“It's a genuine piece of engineering that will come to the road, for sure.”
The petrol-electric 918 Spyder, now out of production, sold for more than $2 million apiece, and while several prominent Australians – including former F1 driver Mark Webber – have purchased examples, it cannot be locally registered.
Porsche Australia managing director Sam Curtis told GoAuto that Porsche’s traditional sportscar customer base are accepting of the company’s push for a hybridised performance future.
“I think at the end of the day, if it delivers on all the brand promises, which I think this car will, clearly it will be accepted,” he said. “Somewhat challenging, obviously, for our audience and our customer base, but I think we've moved on from that and … it's a sign of what's to come and I think it's just understood that we've obviously stripped our emission controls and regulations. It's the way of the world.”
Another change for the traditional Porsche customer has been the recent implementation of turbochargers on its range of 911 Carrera models. The Carrera has been a naturally aspirated car for more than 50 years, but tightening emissions regulations forced Porsche to add turbocharging.
“It's really too early for reaction (from customers),” said Mr Ellis. “What is consistent between the Carrera and Carrera Turbo is that it revs to the same 7500rpm redline as a normally aspirated engine, and it sounds just as good as a normally aspirated engine. The engineers, hats off to them, have achieved a turbo that doesn't actually feel or sound like a turbo. It still delivers the same set of normal brand promises.
“More power, more torque, better fuel consumption, and no compromises. That's what's exciting about this new 911,” added Mr Curtis.
Porsche Australia expects to see the new 911 early in 2016, along with the recently announced Boxster Spyder. Additional 911 variants will also be announced shortly.
“There will be derivatives of the new 911 Carrera, so we'll see the all-wheel drive derivatives announced six weeks after we see the rear drives and then the turbo, hopefully, by mid-year as well,” confirmed Mr Ellis.
Sportscar lovers have bought 279 911s in 2015, a lift of eight per cent year on last year.
Porsche’s local sales mix continues to be dominated by SUVs, with the success of the mid-size Macan offsetting a slight slip in sales for the stalwart Cayenne.
The Macan makes up just under half of Porsche’s total number to the end of August, recording 1382 sales against a total of 2858, which is 57 per cent up year on year. The Cayenne has chipped in 873, a slide of 6.6 per.
“At this stage, probably 80 per cent of our mix is SUV and it is what it is,” said Mr Curtis. “We understand that to be the case, so we've got the sportiest SUV in the range and of course that's attracting new buyers into our brand.
“Seventy per cent of the order bank on Macan are first-time buyers to Porsche.
Obviously we've grown the family, and I'm excited about that.” Mr Curtis claimed the new entrants into the brand are not conquest sales, but are coming up from mainstream brands such as Honda and Mazda.
There are no plans by Porsche to tackle the influx of premium SUVs from brands such as Bentley, Jaguar and Maserati, with Mr Ellis pointing to the Cayenne Turbo S as the brand’s answer.
“We have and we won't. The Turbo S is everything you ever need and more in an SUV,” said Mr Ellis.
“Our decisions are very independent of what the others are doing,” added Mr Curtis. We won't follow. We're comfortable with where we are and it's positioned correctly, and we have a very exciting, very fresh portfolio at this stage so we don't need anything over and above what we've already got.”
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