INSTANT GRATIFICATION

Until Macans arrive, buyers offered short leases on other Porsches

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LOS ANGELES -- The new Porsche Macan crossover already is sold out for this year, so the company is trying to keep potential Macan buyers -- most of them new to the brand -- happy by putting them in other Porsche vehicles during the wait.

U.S. buyers of the Macan, which went on sale in May, face a wait of more than six months for delivery, Detlev von Platen, CEO of Porsche Cars North America, said at a media event here.

But that presents a problem for Porsche and its dealers: How to ease disappointment for the waiting Macan buyer? The answer: Very short-term leases on other Porsches -- Boxster or Cayman sports cars -- to bridge the wait for the vehicle the customer really wants. The open-ended leases run until the buyer's Macan arrives, whether that's six months or more.

Von Platen: Easing the wait

"I hate to have customers who don't know Porsche to visit for the first time a Porsche dealership, prepare to enter the family and then get an answer from the dealer, 'Oh, yes, we'd love to have you, but you have to wait six or seven months to get your order,'" von Platen said.

About 80 percent of Macans are expected to be sold to first-time Porsche buyers, he said. The short-term lease program, however, is open to anyone who puts in a firm order for the Macan.

Porsche is seeing positive response to the program, which just launched, von Platen said. But he said it's too early to provide numbers for how many Macan buyers are taking Porsche up on the short-term leases, which are offered at a monthly cost comparable to what they'd pay for a Macan. The Macan starts at $50,895, the Boxster at $52,395, and the Cayman at $53,595. All prices include shipping.

Porsche sold 1,263 Macans in the United States last month. Supply constraints will limit the Macan's full-year U.S. sales to less than 10,000 in 2014, von Platen said. Depending on how demand holds up, U.S. sales could reach 18,000 annually as soon as next year, he said.

Porsche's Leipzig, Germany, plant is currently set up to build 50,000 Macans a year, but Porsche could boost that number if demand continues to be strong.

While the short-term leases are intended to improve satisfaction for waiting customers, the program also could temporarily help sales for the Boxster and Cayman, two of Porsche's lower-volume products, and provide dealerships with low-mileage used cars.

You can reach Amy Wilson at awilson@crain.com.


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