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We are not chasing volume in Australia, says Porsche
Despite growth, Porsche says it is not targeting 5000 annual sales in Australia
16 Feb 2017
PORSCHE Cars Australia (PCA) says is not simply chasing sales growth Down Under, despite seven consecutive years of record hauls and the prospect of another this year with the arrival of key new models and variants.
The German sportscar-maker’s Australian sales have more than doubled in three years, hitting a high of 4434 units in 2016, representing an 8.4 per cent increase over its 2015 haul.
In 2002, the year before Porsche launched the model that drove them to record global growth – the Cayenne SUV – the company sold 712 sportscars in Australia, rising to 1154 in 2006 and remaining steady until 2011 when it hit 1343 units.
The arrival of the brand’s second SUV – the instantly popular mid-size Macan – in early 2014 ensured another lift, to 2812 sales, before rising again in 2015 to 4090 sales, largely due to a full year of the mostly complete Macan range.
Last year’s tally of 4434 placed Porsche ahead of the likes of Jaguar (3008), Peugeot (3129), Mini (3765) and Fiat (2414), and put it within striking distance of overtaking fellow Volkswagen Group brand Skoda (4760).
This year, Porsche sales should continue to be strong, with the first full year of the new 718 Boxster that was launched last year, as well as the arrival of initial variants of the all-new Panamera four-door grand tourer and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder Macan base variant.
Speaking with GoAuto at the Panamera 4S and Turbo launch in the Hunter Valley last week, PCA director of sales and network development John Murray said the company was not aiming for 5000 sales in Australia.
“We don’t aim for a number,” he said. “We don’t really have much interest in whether it has a four in front or a five in front of it. If the demand is there and it is selling according to Porsche’s philosophy, which is stated quite clearly all around the world – one less car than the market demands – then that number may drop out. If it doesn’t, ok.”
Mr Murray said pushing for ambitious volume growth can have a detrimental impact on a brand, and acknowledged the constantly changing nature of the Australian new-car market.
“We have had a purple patch for three or four years – just up and up and up.
Maybe it doesn’t continue like that sometime in the future and it comes down for some reason. That’s fine as well. That’s up to us to have that conversation with our colleagues in Stuttgart and not just keep pushing for a number.
“That’s when you start to go off the rails as a premium brand. In some sense, we are kind of old school in the way we go about our business. It is about selling a great product through a very professional and caring network to create happy, enthusiastic customers and hopefully do it successfully.
“As soon as we start aiming for a number and we have to do it at all costs because we said we would back in January or February, you can very quickly end up in a place that is not good for the brand and in fact not good for dealers and customers long term.”
He added that PCA spent a lot of time speaking with the factory to ensure they got the demand and supply right.
“Sometimes we get it wrong,” he said. “Sometimes we under-supply. All those (911 Carrera) GT3 RSs and Cayman GT4s we got – stunning success, but I still had customers who missed out.”
Mr Murray admitted that the recent rapid sales growth, largely on the back of the successful launch of the Macan, had been a challenge to manage for the Australian outpost, but he added that it had been preparing for the expansion behind the scenes before the model arrived.
“Porsche Australia and certainly our dealer network had to gear up for it in a physical sense. Our dealerships had to expand their facilities to cope with the growth, both in sales and aftersales because we want to retain these people as loyal service customers.
“They had to expand in a capability sense, up-skilling people and expanding the number of people we have at the front end in the showroom but also at the back end in the workshop.
“That was key. Of course, people are stepping up from another brand, and they perceive themselves to be stepping up into Porsche, so they bring certain expectations with them.
“That crest has a certain promise. And certainly as an importer and our dealership network, we had to live up to that.”
Mr Murray said PCA was satisfied with the resale value of its products, including the range-opening Macan SUV, and that it was aware of strategies to avoid a drop in resale value.
“At an industry level, always a good indication of how that’s going is whether an importer at any point of the market has to bring in something like a guaranteed future value finance product. We don’t have to do that, never have.
“But generally speaking we are very happy with the resale value of all of the cars. The biggest single effect of that is how many new cars you bring in.
“It is a sure sign in any market or any product, if resale value starts to drop dramatically, you are probably bringing in too many of the new thing. You are probably over-supplying.
“One of the things we can do as an importer – that we can do to best support people’s residual values – is not over supply the market initially. We are aware of that as well.”
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