DETROIT – New models will further momentum for Porsche in the U.S. this year the company’s top executive says, predicting more gains for the brand that saw sales jump 20.7% in 2012.
Worldwide, the German sports-car maker, now part of the Volkswagen Group, posted record deliveries of 141,000 vehicles last year, an 18.7% gain on 2011. The U.S. market accounted for 35,043 units, or 25% of the total.
CEO Mathias Müller says the auto maker is well on its way to meeting its goal of 200,000 sales globally in 2018, but he won’t complain if Porsche blows past that milestone even earlier.
“Our stated 2018 objective is to break the 200,000 barrier, to exceed that level,” Müller says on the sidelines of the North American International Auto Show here. “If we reach that even earlier, I’ll be happy.”
Although he doesn’t provide a specific forecast, the brand’s planned product assault has Müller confident of further volume gains this year in the U.S. market.
The new offerings include the Cayenne Turbo S, which is bowing at the auto show here and will hit U.S. showrooms in the spring.
Boasting 550 hp, it fills a slot at the very top of that model’s range. In addition to its high-powered V-8 engine, Müller says the new Cayenne Turbo S is 309 lbs. (140 kg) lighter and 23% more fuel-efficient than the model it replaces.
A revamped Cayman, unveiled at the Los Angeles auto show in November, joins the U.S. lineup this spring.
Also planned for a late-2013 U.S. introduction is the 918 Spyder super car, which will feature a hybrid powertrain and be built at a new line at Porsche’s Zuffenhausen, Germany, plant beginning Sept. 18 (9/18).
The Spyder marries a 500-hp V-8 with two electric motors combining for at least another 218 hp, while still boasting fuel economy of 78 mpg (3.0 L/100 km) based on the New European Driving Cycle.
Only 918 of the exotics will be built, with U.S. prices starting at $845,000, not including destination and handling.
Late 2013 also will see introduction of the all-new Macan cross/utility vehicle derived from the Audi Q5.
“The Macan will broaden our customer base,” Müller declares. “Especially here in America.”
Evidence of Porsche’s U.S. success, the executive says, can be seen in the construction of its new headquarters in Atlanta, expected to be completed in second-half 2013, as well as the two test tracks it is building in Atlanta and near Los Angeles that will be used in part to demonstrate the finer points of its sports cars to customers.
The auto maker also is on a drive to expand its U.S. dealer base, which Müller wants to see grow from 750 today to 1,000 over time.
Last year, Porsche boosted volume in most major markets. Asia/Pacific deliveries rose 23.6% to 50,376, making it the auto maker’s top region. Despite economic woes, sales in Europe climbed 13.5% to 49,639, while China surpassed the 30,000-unit mark for the first time, reaching 31,205.
Meanwhile, Porsche says warrants issued in India calling for Müller’s arrest are “baseless and without any material substance.”
An Indian court issued the warrants on behalf of Precision Cars India, a former Porsche importer that was displaced by Volkswagen Group Sales India in April. Precision says it was never informed by Porsche that its services no longer would be required and that Porsche has failed to negotiate a settlement in their dispute.
Porsche says the criminal proceedings are an afterthought by Precision, which has exhausted most of its appeals in civil proceedings that upheld the auto maker’s right to terminate the distribution deal.