Paris: Porsche is considering a coupe variant of its Cayenne sport utility vehicle and more high-performance sports cars to sustain profitability as huge costs for developing electric vehicles loom.
Following rapid expansion fueled by the Macan compact SUV’s rollout two years ago, the German luxury-car brand is looking at lucrative derivatives of existing model lines to protect financial firepower, chief executive officer Oliver Blume said in an interview at the Paris Motor Show. The approach, which may include a revival of the GT2 RS track car, is underscored in the brand’s strategy through 2025 that has abandoned volume targets.
“We look into every vehicle segment and evaluate what we can do there, as developing our product portfolio is at the core of our strategy," Blume said. “We want to define the sports car of the future and combine Porsche’s tradition and values with new technologies like electric mobility and digital features."
Porsche’s success is vital for parent Volkswagen AG as the group digests an unprecedented financial hit from the diesel scandal that erupted a year ago. The brand’s exposure to the emissions rigging is relatively small, with 13,000 diesel-version Cayennes in the US affected out of a total 11 million vehicles across the group. The maker of the 911 sports car is one of the world’s most profitable carmakers, with a first-half operating margin of 16.7% of revenue compared with 1.7% for the VW brand. Blume, 48, reiterated Porsche’s target of at least matching last year’s earnings.
The executive took the helm at Stuttgart-based Porsche a year ago to succeed Matthias Mueller, who was picked for the top job at Volkswagen after the emissions crisis sparked the ouster of CEO Martin Winterkorn.
Porsche’s strategy is a response to tightening emissions regulations across the globe and an anticipated market shift toward electric cars with new digital features. The division green-lighted more than €1 billion ($1.12 billion) in investment last year to introduce its first battery-powered sports car by the end of the decade. It’s also adding hybrid versions across the line-up that could eventually even include the 911, Blume said.
A version of the Cayenne with a sloping back end would challenge rivals’ SUV adaptations, such as the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE coupe. The Cayenne, Porsche’s key sales driver for a decade, was its second-best-selling model last year, behind the smaller Macan.
Porsche is presenting a hybrid version of its revamped Panamera four-door coupe at the Paris show, as well as the 911 GT3 Cup, a variant of its sports car for the race track. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid combines a 2.9-litre, 330-horsepower V6 petrol engine with a 100-kilowatt electric motor. It can drive 50 kilometers (30 miles) on battery power alone. The 911 GT3 features a 485-hp engine, weighs just 1,200 kilograms (1.3 tons) and costs €1,89,900 plus tax. Bloomberg