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Porsche ‘moderately optimistic’ about 2010

Making the most of it: Porsche's factories continue to roll, despite a sales plunge this year.

New Porsche boss sees difficult times ahead, but sales could rebound next year

25 Sep 2009

PORSCHE is optimistic that sales of its sportscars will improve in the 2010 calendar year after falling almost a quarter – twice as much as revenue – in its 2008/09 financial year.

Speaking at the Frankfurt motor show last week, new Porsche AG chief executive Michael Macht said that global sales for the German sportscar brand fell 24 per cent to approximately 75,200 units for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2009.

In contrast, revenue was down by only 12 per cent to an estimated €6.6 billion ($A11.2 billion).

Mr Macht, who took the helm of Porsche AG from Wendelin Wiedeking two months ago and has since steered it through the first stage of a merger with the Volkswagen Group, said these results should mark the lowest point for the company in the current economic downturn.

“Although the next few months will remain difficult, we are moderately optimistic for calendar 2010,” he said.

 center image Porsche AG chief executive Michael Macht.

“We have always pursued a policy of consistent cost management, we have secured our foreign currency revenues in leading markets such as the USA, we have boosted our sales in new markets offering high margins, we maintain our low level of in-house production, and we are constantly optimising all processes within the company.

“Even so, we are also affected by the general decrease in sales and the need to reduce the number of working hours. We, too, therefore are also facing the icy wind of the economic crisis, as you can see from the provisional figures for the year of business under report.”

Last financial year, the 911 model range remained the backbone of Porsche’s line-up, incurring a sales decrease of 14 per cent to a provisional figure of around 27,100 units worldwide. The Cayenne SUV was down 25 per cent to 34,300 units, while the Boxster and Cayman were down a massive 40 per cent to 13,100 sales combined.

Mr Macht attributed the latter to the updated models released in the first quarter of this year.

In Australia, Porsche sales are down 21.7 per cent in the calendar year to date, which is in line with other countries outside its traditional markets Germany and North America. The 911 has borne the brunt of the Australian downturn – down 42.9 per cent YTD – while the Boxster is down 26.6 per cent, Cayman is down 10.4 per cent and Cayenne down 10.1 per cent.

Global Porsche production last financial year totalled an estimated 76,700 units – 27 per cent less than in the previous year.

“Even with these figures, our return on turnover remains in the double-digit percentage range,” Mr Macht said. “This means we are still highly profitable in our operative business, which is really a most significant achievement in these difficult times. And of course this gives us a demanding benchmark for our return on turnover in better times.

“Once the economy picks up again, we will be perfectly prepared for an upswing in the market, being among the first manufacturers then able to move up again with a powerful start.”

Mr Macht added that a “growing number of indicators” indicated the global economy might now be coming out of its slump.

“In the months of crisis that lie behind us, we have in fact even increased our market shares, simply because in most cases our direct competitors were hit harder by the slump in demand than we were,” he said. “As a result, we have succeeded by and large in winning the ruinous competition currently to be observed in shrinking markets by increasing our market shares accordingly.

“The 911, for example, has increased its overall market share in our major markets in the last quarter by seven per cent to no less than 35 per cent – a result we are very proud of, since it confirms that with our sporting premium cars we are going in the right direction.”

Interestingly, employee numbers at Porsche actually increased in its last financial year, rising 450 to 12,652. New jobs were created at its production plant in Leipzig, Germany, and at subsidiaries.

Porsche expects sales of its Panamera sedan to boost its volume, along with new arrivals shown at Frankfurt including the 911 Turbo, 911 GT3 RS and the image-enhancing 911 Sport Classic limited edition.

As GoAuto has reported, the Sport Classic signals a return to a tradition of exclusive limited-edition models from Porsche, while news from Frankfurt that a hybrid 911 and an electric vehicle development program were underway points to future models set to emerge from Porsche under the Volkswagen umbrella.

“There can be no doubt about it, 2009 will go down in the annals of Porsche as a truly exceptional year,” Mr Macht said. “In recent months our company has experienced far-reaching changes which, as we know today, can only be beneficial to Porsche AG.

“We are looking forward to our co-operation with Volkswagen, also because we see both new and very interesting perspectives under the roof of this integrated automotive group as well as additional, consistent and sustainable opportunities for ongoing and successful growth.

“I am also convinced that Porsche, through the outstanding competence in technology and the unique myth our brand has to offer, will make a substantial contribution from the very first day to the success of this new group of companies.

“Together with the other nine brands, therefore, we plan to be number one in the global market – and we in Zuffenhausen are fully committed, like all of our colleagues, to this objective.”

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