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Porsche’s Macan key to sustainability

Big numbers: The forthcoming sub-Cayenne sized Porsche Macan is expected to significantly boost the brand's Australian sales.

Stuttgart’s premium compact SUV should propel Porsche sales beyond 2000 a year in Oz

23 Feb 2012

PORSCHE believes its Macan will be the company’s chief lifeline in future, with the sub-Cayenne compact SUV expected to hurtle the Stuttgart company past the 2000 unit mark for the first time in Australia in the second half of this decade.

Based on the next-generation Audi Q5 platform (that is itself thought to be a derivation of the future B9 A4 sedan architecture), the Macan will take on the well received Range Rover Evoque and upcoming BMW X4 in the $70,000-plus luxury crossover category in Australia when it arrives sometime in the first half of 2014.

According to Porsche Cars Australia (PCA) managing director Michael Winkler, the Macan will usher in a new era for the organisation and the Porsche dealer network, since it will provide a continuous and profitable volume model on which to rely on.

Expected to take over from the $107,700-plus Cayenne as the bestselling model, the Macan’s relative affordability means it will be less subjected to the vagaries of economic conditions than its more expensive siblings, which right now also include the Boxster (priced from $106,100), Cayman (from $115,100), Panamera (from $200,200), and 911 (from $229,900).

 center imageLeft: Porsche Cars Australia managing director Michael Winkler. Below: 911 and Boxster.

Illustrating this point is the fact that PCA’s best year to date Down Under was 2007, with 1380 units. The GFC that unfolded immediately afterwards saw volume stumble to 1025 cars in 2008, but the recovery since (1157, 1266, and 1343 sales in ’09, ’10 and ’11 respectively) has not been as strong as the company would have liked.

“For Australia (the Macan) will be a very big step for us,” Mr Winkler told journalists at the Australian launch of the 991 series 911 Carrera in Victoria this week.

“It will take our franchise from the numbers that we are talking currently to comfortably over the 2000 mark over the medium term.”

Mr Winkler said the increased business created by the Macan would far outweigh any concerns of an entry-level Porsche diluting the appeal of the marque.

“We think that in a market of one million cars a year that is still fairly exclusive, and so I have no concerns from that point of view,” he said.

“But it will certainly put our dealers in a position where they will be long-term sustainable even now with Cayenne, volumes are going up and down … there are some good years and some bad years but with a fifth model line like that that will be very stable going forward.”

To help service the expected growth in volume brought on by the Macan, PCA says it has instructed some of its 12-strong nationwide dealerships to upgrade and/or extend their premises. At least one new Queensland site – in Cairns and/or perhaps in Townsville – is also on the cards. “We are putting some requirements on our dealer network going forward that you will (soon) see … with some activity, extensions and so on and so forth,” Mr Winkler said.

“So with 13 dealers and with that volume we should be very sustainable.”

Meanwhile, the long-serving PCA boss is confident the new 911 and 981-series Boxster due later on in the year will help drive sales towards the 2007 record of 1380 units.

This is despite severe stock shortages of both models in the first half of 2012 as a result of the model changeovers.

“The market has come back fairly strongly,” he said.

“(But) the model mix (in 2012) will be different – a higher percentage of Cayennes vis-à-vis 911s and Boxsters. This is logical as Cayenne was new last year while the Boxster and 911 were in their fifth and six years respectively.

“This year we hope to match last year, despite the fact that we don’t have many cars – first with 911 and then later on with Boxster, but given that we (virtually) sold out of the old cars fairly well, and we’ve had the first three months without 911s and will have the first six months without Boxster, basically the new cars will have to carry us after that.

“That should be strong enough to give us the numbers overall (to match 2011).”

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