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PORSCHE Cars Australia says it is focused on maintaining a profitable and strong business for the company and its small dealer network, rather than chasing outright sales volume Down Under.
The German car-maker’s overall sales are in negative territory this year, down 18.7 per cent to the end of August compared with the same period in 2017, and company executives expect to end the year slightly behind last year’s record haul of 4484 units.
Porsche Cars Australia head of public relations Chris Jordan said the company was coy when discussing sales targets because chasing volume was not its priority.
“There is less focus on a raw sales volume and more focus on having a really strong, robust, profitable business, both at our level and all of the dealers,” he told journalists in Melbourne last week.
“That is the main priority. Chasing a raw sales number is certainly not as high a priority as having a strong business. That is why we don’t give sales projections and don’t really talk about sales that much.”

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Mr Jordan added that Porsche customers were keen to maintain a level of exclusivity with their cars and that pushing for ever higher volumes would impact resale value.
“We have a smaller business, smaller dealer network (14 dealers nationally), but very strong business. And we don’t chase sales for the sake of sales. And particularly our customers wouldn’t want that.
“Resale value, customer satisfaction is extremely important to us, and that’s why we are proud of the results we have at the moment in customer satisfaction, both sales and service, and also resale values. They are important things to us. Strength of the business is important to us as well. Those are the priorities versus raw sales.”
Mr Jordan said the company would push to make up some ground in the coming months to close the 18.7 per cent sales gap over this time last year, but acknowledged that it would not beat 2017’s tally.
“As Sam (PCA managing director Sam Curtis) has mentioned this year, we will make up a lot of it, but … in the 2017 calendar year we sold 4484 and we expect to be slightly below that this year. Just through the nature of supply issues we have had.”
While Mr Jordan said much of the sales decline was forecast by the company, he added that 2019 would be a big year for Porsche in Australia and it would help reset its sales.
“Next year is a very busy year. Cayenne will be in full swing, the first half of the year will be Macan and there will be some other things coming as well. That’s why we want to be on the front foot with saying we are not concerned. There is a lot of preparation for a very busy year next year.”

Strong finish: A new 911 is imminent but the current model (left) is still selling well, while Cayenne (below) sales are down.

As previously reported, Porsche ran low on stock of the previous Cayenne earlier this year in the lead up to the launch of the third-generation model in June.
Sales of the large SUV are down by 43.7 per cent compared with the first eight months of 2017, with 533 units shifted, pushing it to 10th in its segment behind the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe (535) and the soon-to-be-replaced Volkswagen Touareg (780).
Mr Jordan said the success of the previous model’s run-out was one factor for the sales decline, but sourcing enough stock from the factory was also a challenge.
“The interest and the order intake and now even the wholesale is really strong for that car, but deliveries, which is what is in VFACTS, are still down, for a few reasons. Just as we would have loved supply to ramp up, it is when the factory’s output is a little slow because of European summer holidays. There is also issues that we all know about in terms of supply challenges out of Europe, and even some supplier stuff with Porsche.
“There is no concern there. It is just the interest in the car isn’t reflected in the sales as yet. You will see that ramp up in the fourth quarter of the year. So there is no concern at our side, but if you do see the sales, all those factors combined to be reflected in the fact that Cayenne is our second biggest model. So if you look at the 18 per cent we are down, most of it is Cayenne.”
The Cayenne, Cayenne S, Cayenne Turbo and the E-Hybrid are all available now, but the Cayenne diesel that the company announced at the new model’s reveal is yet to materialise.
Mr Jordan acknowledged that there was a gap in Cayenne sales as there was “a lot of demand for large SUVs with a diesel powertrain”, adding that some traditional diesel buyers would opt for another Cayenne variant, such as the base, S or E-Hybrid.
“Considering that none are actually on the ground in Australia yet, we are seeing strong interest in terms of enquiry and even orders for Cayenne E-Hybrid, which is positive.

Cayenne

“So some of the traditional diesel buyers will go into a Cayenne, some will go into an E-Hybrid. We are about to find out how many are dedicated to a diesel.”
While Porsche Cars Australia would not provide a break down of variant sales, Mr Jordan said the diesel was the best-selling version of the previous Cayenne.
Macan sales are also down this year by 14.5 per cent to 1557 units, and Mr Jordan confirmed that it is about to go into run-out ahead of the facelifted model arriving in the first half of next year.
“Availability is really starting to come off as we really do sell it down before the facelift in the first half of next year. That is one thing that we do that is unique – when we do a sell down, we really do make sure the car really does sell down, so when the new model comes, everyone – us, the dealer and customer – is focused … on the new model.”
Mr Jordan said the flagship 911 sportscar was continuing to kick goals for Porsche, with sales up 11.1 per cent to 370 units this year.
“There is still really strong demand for the existing model. Particularly at that high end where we can’t actually satisfy all of the demand.”
The all-new 911 is likely to surface this year, and while Porsche is yet to confirm it, the Los Angeles motor show is the most likely place for its reveal.
When asked if the 911 will experience the same sales slide on the back of dwindling stock as the Cayenne and Macan, Mr Jordan said:
“The 911 is perhaps a different story. Look at the price list. See how many variants there are of 911 (23). It really does get phased in over a life cycle. That does spread deliveries and announcements of 911 over the life cycle. So perhaps a little different with 911. There is not a year that goes by that something 911 isn’t unveiled and goes on sale so it does spread out a lot more.”

By Tim Nicholson

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