With GTS variants of its re-engineered 718 Boxster and Cayman arriving at dealerships early next year, Porsche expects to turn around the sales fortunes of its midengine sports cars.
Demand for the GTS variants is "looking very good" since the order bank for the cars opened earlier this fall, said Klaus Zellmer, CEO of Porsche Cars North America. The GTS models should lift demand and could represent as much as 50 percent of all sales of the 718 family in 2018, Zellmer told Automotive News.
"People know what they get if they buy a GTS, which is more sporty, and we certainly hope for more people engaging in our 718s," Zellmer said. "The segment overall of where we play with our 718 is a challenging segment, but especially now with the GTS, we see some activities at the shop floor, and orders being taken."
In the first 11 months of this year, 718 Boxster sales fell 14 percent while Cayman sales dropped 22 percent. The Boxster was down similarly last year, while Cayman sales rose 0.8 percent in 2016, the year in which the re-engineered and renamed 718 models debuted.
Zellmer attributed the sales drops in part to the cadence of variant introductions with the re-engineered vehicles. Porsche brought out the base and S models initially and is rolling out other variants gradually.
The GTS models debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show last month. Their 365-hp, 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines produce 15 hp more than the 718 S models and up to 35 hp more than the previous generation of naturally aspirated Boxster and Cayman GTS models. They include visual cues associated with the racing-inspired GTS line, such as black accents inside and out.