FRANKFURT — Porsche's wagon experiment is off to a promising start in the U.S.
The upcoming Panamera Sport Turismo, a wagon variant of the redesigned Panamera sedan, accounts for about 10 percent of U.S. Panamera orders, said Klaus Zellmer, CEO of Porsche Cars North America.
"We are excited about that car," Zellmer said during an interview at the Frankfurt auto show. "We're very aware of the fact that it's a niche in a niche. Lots of people say, 'Hey, that's rather courageous to bring that car to the States.' Even though people have not sat in the car or driven the car, they find it attractive and something different."
Deliveries of the Sport Turismo will begin during the first quarter of 2018. Zellmer said he would be "very happy" if the Sport Turismo mix stays at 10 percent. Porsche executives had estimated that the variant would account for between 5 and 10 percent of U.S. Panamera sales.
Porsche sold 4,403 Panameras in the U.S. in 2016 as the outgoing generation of the car was wound down. The redesigned Panamera went on sale this year, and sales rose 36 percent during the first eight months, to 4,068.
The Panamera sedan will pick up a feature from the Sport Turismo later in 2018, Zellmer confirmed: the option of a rear bench, enabling the sedan to seat five people for the first time. U.S. dealers have been clamoring for the option, saying they sometimes lose Panamera shoppers to competitors that offer seating for five.