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Porsche claws back sales

Not so bad: Porsche sales are down three per cent, but Panamera contributed more than 8000 sales.

Global sales and revenue figures increase as Porsche forecasts a healthy first half

Porsche logo1 Feb 2010


PORSCHE has forecast a better-than-expected sales and revenue decline of about three per cent for the first half of its current financial year, which ends on July 31.

The surprising turnaround was revealed by Volkswagen Group chairman Dr Martin Winterkorn at the company’s annual general meeting in Stuttgart on January 29, and follows a 25 per cent reduction in global vehicle sales during the first four months of its fiscal year.

But Porsche is facing a $US1 billion ($1.13b) lawsuit from American hedge fund managers miffed at Porsche’s take-over attempt of Volkswagen last year.

With just a few days remaining, Porsche said its first-half results should include a 3.1 per cent decline in sales to about 33,200 vehicles and a 3.3 per cent decline in revenues to €2.9 billion ($A4.54b), following stronger sales in the second quarter.

Based on preliminary figures, Dr Winterkorn said Porsche’s fourth model line, the all-new four-door Panamera grand tourer, will find about 8200 new homes in the first half of its fiscal year, despite being released in September in Europe (October in Australia) and as late as December in some markets.

The Cayenne will remain Porsche’s top-selling model in the same period, when sales are expected to be down by 22 per cent at 13,100, while 7400 examples of the 911 sportscar are forecast – down as much as 45 per cent on the previous year.

 center image Left: Volkswagen Group chairman Dr Martin Winterkorn.

The only Porsche model to prove more popular in the six months to January 31 is the mid-engined Boxster convertible and its Cayman coupe stablemate, 4500 sales of which is forecast to represent an increase of 14 per cent.

Porsche says the North American market “remains difficult” and will fall by 16 per cent about 11,000 vehicles for the German sports-luxury brand, while European sales are expected to decrease by just six per cent, to 10,200.

However, Porsche expects sales to increase by 18 per cent outside the US and Europe, to about 12,000 vehicles.

But while sales have slowed, Porsche says it will still produce 40,877 vehicles in the six months to the end of January – just 1.9 per cent fewer than the same period in 2008/2009.

The half-year total includes 16,979 Cayennes, 9882 Panameras, 8746 911s and 5270 examples of the Boxster/Cayman.

Porsche says that its full-year 2009/2010 sales figure will eclipse that of the previous year (75,238) if strong second-quarter sales continue in the second half of its fiscal year.

However, the newest Volkswagen brand, whose sales were down 24 per cent in 2008/2009, remains a long way from the 100,000-vehicle mark it expected to break prior to the global financial crisis.

Porsche’s holding company, Porsche Holding SE, posted a €4.4 billion ($A6.89b) pre-tax loss in 2008/2009, representing a €13 billion ($A20.38b) turn-around from the previous financial year’s €8.6 billion ($A13.47b) profit.

Further bad news for Porsche comes in the form of a law suit by American hedge fund managers who are suing Porsche for more than $US1 billion ($A1.13b), with reports suggesting claims could total more than $US10 billion if the suit is joined by other Volkswagen investors.

For now, four US fund managers – Elliott Associates, Glenhill Capital Management, Glenview Capital Management and Perry Capital – have accused Porsche, its former chief executive and its former chief financial officer of lying about their intention to take over Volkswagen.

According to Autocar, the fund managers claim they lost more than $US1 billion in October 2008, when Porsche surprised the stock market by revealing a 75 per cent stake in Volkswagen, because they were ‘shorting’ VW stock – a process of selling borrowed shares and hoping to buy them back more cheaply at a later date.

But the plan backfired when Porsche's announcement sent VWs shares skywards and prices were driven even higher as short-sellers attempted to buy back stock at inflated prices to meet their obligations, while Porsche profited by selling some of its secretly acquired stock.

“Porsche should be held accountable in a court of law,” said attorney for the funds, Phil Beck. “We’ll do whatever it takes to make sure that the rule of law is upheld.”

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