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Porsche to double sales in Oz
Forthcoming Macan sub-compact SUV expected to double local Porsche volume
8 Oct 2012
PORSCHE expects its forthcoming Macan compact SUV to propel sales for the German sportscar brand in Australia, perhaps more than doubling its volume by 2015.
Porsche Cars Australia managing director Michael Winkler made the bold prediction to GoAuto at the recent Paris motor show, where the company revealed a concept for a wagon version of the big Panamera sedan.
Many observers were highly impressed by the so-called “Sport Turismo”, describing it as the Panamera Porsche should have built in the first place, but Mr Winkler does not see a big future for the car in Australia if it makes it to production.
He said that, while the factory was keen to build the Panamera wagon, it would represent a potential of only about 50 units a year in Australia as a variant on an already niche model.
“It’s a concept car and the purpose of a concept car is to gauge a response and then make a decision,” he told us. “We would be quite keen to do it, but it does depend on the response.
“It’s a good-looking car, but the Panamera segment in Australia is very small so we won’t play much of a role in the decision. The decision will be made in the emerging markets and in Europe.”
From top: Sketch of the Porsche Macan Cayenne S Diesel 911.
Mr Winkler is more excited about the local prospects for the Macan, which will be built on the VW Group family platform of the next-generation Audi Q5, just as the Cayenne is based on the Q7.
It is due to be launched in Australia around April-May 2014.
“I foresee we will take the Porsche franchise from currently 1500 per annum in a good year to a minimum of 2500 (with the Macan),” he said.
“And if I’m ambitious I would say it could take it to over 3000 a year.
“The car will be launched in Australia in 2014 and then in 2015 we will see those sort of numbers, so long as you can guarantee that no other thing (such as the economy) will collapse around us.”
Porsche’s best year in Australia was 2007 – also the last year the 911 outsold the Cayenne – when it sold 1380 vehicles.
The company dropped 30 per cent in the wake of the global financial crisis, but last year almost topped its previous best, selling 1343 vehicles.
This year, sales are down 1.4 per cent, but the company has considerable momentum in the back half of the year after recently launching new 911 and Boxster models, so the record should fall. In September, sales were up 50 per cent.
Mr Winkler, who has been running the franchise in Australia since the factory took over in 1995, said the new 911 – which was launched in June – was selling to expectation.
“The segment is down a little bit in Australia – at least the way we look at it for the 911 – but we’re doing what we wanted to achieve in the market share,” he said.
“We will end up for the year, both global and in Australia, with a nice plus over last year.
“What you have to remember for us is, sure there’s an economic cycle, but almost more important than that are the product cycles, particularly in our part of the world.
“With the new 911, there’s a peak (at initial launch), then we launch the other variations, we have another peak, then you launch the turbos and you have another peak.
“It fluctuates in small numbers, but it’s quite drastic in relative terms because we’re dealing in a very small client base in Australia and everyone wants the first one of whatever it is they want.
“We declined by 30 per cent in the GFC in 2009 and last year we came back to where we were before the GFC. This year we will maintain it, with a little bit of growth, and a strong second half with (new) 911 and Boxster.
“No question about it, the business environment is more difficult than it was 12 months or two years ago. Australia is still a very inexplicable two-speed, maybe three-speed economy.
“I try to explain to my colleagues over here (in Europe) that the growth numbers you see are going on where the kangaroos live where the people live in the populated states, you have pretty much a flat line of the (economic) environment.”
While Mr Winkler is more of a 911 fan, he is excited about the ongoing business opportunities with the big Cayenne, which now accounts for between 50 and 60 per cent of Porsche volumes locally.
The twin-turbocharged diesel V8 option, to be sold as the Cayenne S Diesel from April next year, “is something from a business perspective I’m very enthusiastic about” and provides “just dynamite performance”.
“It’s an absolute dynamite performer, with all the attributes you would expect of a modern diesel, and I suppose as much as you could say for a diesel in a Porsche, it’s an absolute Porsche through and through,” he said.
“I would say it will overall increase our Cayenne numbers another 10 per cent.
“It will certainly stabilise the Cayenne now that the current generation Cayenne is going into its third year believe it or not, and I would also project it will pretty much negate the normal petrol S.
“I would see the volume sellers in Australia as the basic 3.0-litre diesel, the Cayenne S diesel, then the Cayenne GTS in the V8 petrol.”
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