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Porsche Cayenne hot stuff for buyers

Short supply: Porsche Cayenne sales will be limited by factory supply in Australia.

Customers queue for second-generation Cayenne as Porsche fights back

Porsche logo16 Jul 2010

PORSCHE Cars Australia (PCA) has a three-to-four-month waiting list for the latest-generation Cayenne SUV – the vehicle that in its first generation defied its critics to top Porsche sales charts and helped to save the company in its darkest hour.

PCA managing director Michael Winkler described the first Cayenne launched in 2003 as the pillar that held up Porsche through the global financial crisis and subsequent sale of Porsche to Volkswagen AG, despite originally being derided by Porsche purists.

“When we looked at building the Cayenne, the decision to go ahead was made based on a business case of 25,000 vehicles per year,” Mr Winkler said at this week’s launch of the new-generation Cayenne.

“In the past years we’ve seen years in excess of 48,000 (sales) per year, and I think it is around 42,000 average over the life of the vehicle.

“So from a business and strategic perspective it (going ahead with the Cayenne) was the right decision to make, putting us in a good position of consolidating the business for the tough times ahead.

“We believed at the time we needed something other than the sports cars to be able to stand on and stabilise the company and Cayenne has been the pillar to be able to achieve that.”

25 center imageFrom top: Audi Q5, Porsche Cayman, Porsche Panamera.

Porsche global sales fell about 24 per cent from more than 100,000 units in the 2007-08 financial year to fewer than 80,000 vehicles in 2008-09.

But with the launch of the Panamera last year and the new Cayenne arriving late in the fiscal year, Mr Winkler is optimistic that this year’s sales will be up about 10 per cent.

In local terms Porsche sales in Australia and New Zealand dropped from more than 1400 units to fewer than 1150 over the past two fiscal years, but again Mr Winkler said he was confident the number would rise about 10 per cent.

Mr Winkler said the previous model Cayenne had just about sold out after strong sales of about 50 to 60 units in the past few months.

But with 286 Cayennes sold in the first half of 2010, the model is down 43.4 per cent on the same period last year.

Mr Winkler said PCA had a three-to-four month waiting list for the new model, and sales volume this year would depend on supply.

“We believe that with this new car we will see further uptake,” he said.

“All I can say is that the order bank is very strong and at this point we are about three or four months sold out in to the future and I anticipate that order bank to get strong again following this week as the cars arrive in the dealerships around the country.” Of the marque’s other nameplates Panamera has sold 52 units in its first year on sale here, Boxster sales are down just one on last year from 70 to 69, Cayman is down from 73 to 62 units while Porsche’s signature model, the 911, is up 41 per cent 125 to 177 units.

Asked about prospects for a sub-Cayenne SUV, Mr Winkler said he had been amused to see published spy shots of the Cayenne misrepresented at a smaller Porsche model.

The styling of the E2 Cayenne makes it appear smaller than it predecessor despite being a few millimeters bigger in all dimensions.

Porsche powertrain project manager for Cayenne, Stephane Fegg, who was on hand for the E2 launch, said such a vehicle was under consideration but not assured.

He said its future would depend on Porsche’s relationship with new owner Volkswagen Group.

Any smaller SUV from Porsche would no doubt be built on the platform under Audi’s successful Q5 and could even share drivetrain components.

Porsche currently has only V8 and flat six cylinder engines of its own, so any smaller V6 or four-cylinder engines would most likely come from VW/Audi stable. It already uses VW’s 3.0-litre supercharged V6 in its Cayenne Hybrid.

Mr Fegg said downsizing was the key to making further reductions in fuel consumption and emissions from the 23 per cent cut achieved on the new Cayenne.

He said he expects people to look to smaller cars and engines.

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