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Pandemic pushes Porsche Taycan launch to Q1 2021
Melbourne lockdown hampers Porsche’s preparations for December Taycan launch in Oz
26 Oct 2020
PORSCHE Cars Australia (PCA) has pushed the launch of its all-electric Taycan sports sedan from December to the first quarter of next year due to pandemic-related border closures and lockdown conditions preventing its headquarters and training centre in Melbourne from delivering the requisite preparations and training.
It is not all bad news, however, as PCA claims local uptake for the Taycan – priced from $191,000 to $339,100 plus on-road costs – has been strong and that around half of all pre-orders placed since the books opened in June have come from people new to the brand.
GoAuto understands that a handful of prototype Taycan models imported for promotional purposes and customer preview events were also destined for on-car technical and sales training that is yet to take place.
Customers who have pre-ordered a Taycan were recently advised that Australian deliveries will now commence in late February as a result of COVID-19 control measures delaying pre-delivery training and other preparations.
Speaking with GoAuto at the recent 718 4.0 GTS and 911 Turbo S launch in South East Queensland, PCA head of PR Chris Jordan said the company was “planning as best we can for when borders reopen so that we can begin training”.
Mr Jordan explained that under Porsche corporate policy, no all-new model can be delivered until every salesperson and service technician in the country has been fully trained.
“We place very high importance on technical and sales training to ensure everyone in all the Porsche Centres are fully up to speed on the car, which is so important on a brand-new thing like Taycan,” he said.
As the multimillion-dollar training complex at Essendon Fields that will be shared by Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi and Porsche nears completion, preparations are underway for the Taycan training to take place there as soon as conditions allow.
“We’re now working towards putting the last finishing touches and moving things into our new training centre,” said Mr Jordan.
“Hopefully the reopening of borders coincides with our training centre opening so we can begin hold training events, particularly for an all-new model like Taycan.”
Mr Jordan agreed that despite the various online and virtual training technologies available to Porsche, there was no substitute for physical on-car experience.
“One of the biggest challenges of 2020 is that we’ve still been able to hold virtual training for salespeople and service technicians but in terms of physical training around technical, driving or brand immersion we haven’t been able to do those, and are really super keen to commence,” he said.
Mr Jordan added that all the technical knowledge to conduct a full Taycan education program already existed in Australia, overcoming the requirement to fly experts in from Germany.
“In our training department we have people who know everything (necessary to conduct the Taycan training) but they are in Victoria, as are the rest of us,” he said.
“Neither option, either flying a trainer out from Germany or using our local trainer, are available.”
Mr Jordan was positive about the level of interest toward the Taycan in Australia, especially as it was bringing new customers to the brand.
“There are effectively two groups of people, those who have already converted their expressions of interest into an order and those who are absolutely keen on the car, know exactly what they want and how they will specify it but just want to test-drive it before they confirm an order,” he said.
“We’re working on that for the next three-to-six months to get people to test-drive the car, which is completely understandable as it’s the first all-electric Porsche sports car.”
Unlike most Porsche models that have traditionally been something of a blank canvas onto which customers must add high-priced optional extras to suit their requirements, Australian-delivered Taycans are arguably the brand’s most generously equipped as standard.
Mr Jordan said this was an extension of PCA’s habit of including more standard kit on most models compared with many other markets but also due to the buyer profile for Taycan.
“Certainly a Taycan buyer is going to be someone that is very interested in not only a high-performance sports car but also technology, so they will want lots of specification in the car,” he explained.
“They are very interested in technology, very interested in connectivity whereas on the sports car side of things we do have some people that want a car that might be more raw and just interested in the key performance of the car and that’s about it.”
While some markets have seen Taycan deliveries spike above those of staple Porsche models in recent months as initial order banks are fulfilled, Mr Jordan did not expect a similar phenomenon once the EV hit its straps in Australia.
“The network of 13 Porsche Centres can only deliver so many cars so you probably won’t see it as profound as a market like North America,” he said.
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