Fueled by the introduction of the Macan compact SUV and the push to expand into the inner regions of the country, Porsche AG’s China chief executive forecast sales growth in the country would accelerate next year.
Porsche has benefited from China’s love for sport utility vehicles – more are sold there than in any other country – even though Porsche SUVs sell for triple what they cost in the U.S., with the cheapest model starting at 922,000 yuan ($150,000).
“The epicenter of the world has for many reasons moved from the U.S., across Europe and now is sitting in Asia, and China is obviously the powerhouse of Asia,” Deesch Papke said during an interview yesterday in the southern city of Foshan, where Porsche is introducing its newest Panamera cars. “We’re extremely optimistic about the success of Macan.”
The company, which expects global deliveries to reach 200,000 by as early as 2015, is counting on China demand to sustain growth and to surpass the U.S. as its biggest market by next year. On the long term, Papke said Porsche is planning expansion westward into China after getting the eastern seaboard “pretty much covered.” The company is also targeting the young, even kids.
“We need to start finding access to the younger population and China is no different,” he said. “The car is no longer the thing that students dream of. They talk about smartphones, they talk about Internet access. We need to bring the Porsche part of that dream more relevantly in.”
The company plans to almost double its number of dealerships to 100 within a year or two, from 56 now. Papke, 51, said sales are on pace to increase about 20% this year. Growth will accelerate next year as the Macan goes on sale from the second half of 2014, he said, without specifying figures.
Last year, Porsche delivered 31,205 vehicles in China, up 28%. In the first eight months of this year, sales growth slowed to 17% to 21,092 cars.