Even though the new Macan crossover could help Porsche achieve its U.S. sales goal of 50,000 units as early as this year, dealers don't expect the brand to strive to stretch its sales much beyond that threshold for the time being.
The Macan, a mid-sized crossover that is likely to start at around $50,000, is expected to be on sale at U.S. dealerships by early summer. Full-year U.S. sales could be in the range of 15,000 to 18,000 vehicles, said Mike Sullivan, a multibrand dealer with a Porsche store in Torrance, Calif., and a member of the Porsche Dealer Board of Regents.
With the brand's total U.S. sales soaring 21 percent in 2013 to a record 42,323 vehicles, the addition of the Macan -- even for just half a year this year -- could put Porsche past the sales goal it has pledged to hit no later than 2018.
But even if that goal is achieved much sooner, Sullivan says Porsche won't immediately put out a new target.
"They want to hit 50,000 and make it sustainable," he said. "Porsche has to be careful with who they are. If they start chasing 55,000, 60,000, 65,000, they could really damage who we are."
Both the manufacturer and dealers are profitable now, Sullivan said. Executives have to ensure that profitability can be maintained with the additional volume.
"It's really important for Porsche to be not just that cliche of one car short," Sullivan said. "Everybody wants to be one car short. But they truly have to be about 7 percent short."
The danger if Porsche doesn't keep supplies that tight? Excess inventory and incentives that would damage the brand and hurt residual values for Porsche loyalists, he said. That would also cost the manufacturer money and hurt dealership profitability.
"I have to throw in a word of caution that they have to remain humble," Sullivan said. "Because things are pretty good right now, and that's dangerous."