DETROIT -- Porsche relied on an SUV and four-door sedan for more than 60 percent of its U.S sales last year. And a smaller SUV coming in 2013 will further stretch the brand.
But the Porsche’s pure sports car aura has not been diluted, says Detlev von Platen, CEO of Porsche Cars North America.
In fact, von Platen says the SUV and sedan in Porsche’s lineup are a boon for the sports cars. The new Cayenne SUV, which came out last spring, and the Panamera four-door sedan, which went on sale in October 2009, “are allowing Porsche to grow and to be healthy in terms of profitability,” he says.
“It allows us to continue to invest in our core, the sports cars,” von Platen says. “Porsche is about the 911, the Boxster and the Cayman."
Porsche also needs the non-sports-car revenue to invest in technology to meet new fuel economy standards in the United States and Europe, von Platen says. Although Porsche is now part of Volkswagen AG, it is determined to meet the standards alone, he said.
And Porsche’s Cayenne “has been perceived as being the sportiest SUV in the segment,” he adds.
Von Platen says the Panamera has been received as a Porsche.
“Nearly 80 percent of the people who buy a Panamera are conquests and are already in the segment,” he said.
The redesigned Cayenne SUV introduced last June is in short supply -- on average about 23 days. But it represents about 33 percent of Porsche’s total U.S. sales, von Platen says. The hybrid version was launched late last year and accounts for about 20 percent of total Cayenne sales -- a proportion that will likely drop to 10 to 15 percent in the longer term, he says.
Porsche’s U.S. sales rose 29 percent to 25,320 units last year. Von Platen declined to forecast sales for this year but said he expects them to be higher.