NEW ORLEANS -- U.S. Porsche sales, with an expected lift from the Macan compact crossover due at dealerships in late spring, are likely to approach 50,000 units in 2014.
They could surpass 50,000, a sales goal Porsche had set for 2018, but executives aren't ready to talk about that possibility.
"That kind of growth is not our objective this year by any means," said Joe Lawrence, who became chief operating officer of Porsche Cars North America in September. "Also, it's a ramp-up year [for the Macan]. One thing we needed to stress with the dealers is to keep expectations in check in terms of just how many we'll be able to deliver this year."
U.S. dealers should start seeing the vehicles in May or June. Porsche executives say full-year volume for the Macan should approximate that of the Cayenne, Porsche's large crossover, at similar points in their life cycles.
In 2013, Porsche sold 18,507 Cayennes in the U.S. Half of that for the Macan this year would push brand sales above 50,000 if volumes of Porsche's other nameplates stay the same. Porsche sold 42,323 vehicles in 2013, a 21 percent increase from 2012.
Lawrence said he expects another sales gain this year but declined to give a volume target.
Dealers at the make meeting here said they're excited to get the Macan and look forward to another great year for Porsche. Tight inventory is their main concern.
"The biggest issue is that it's hard to get cars for loaners," said Mike Sullivan, who owns Pacific Porsche in Torrance, California, and is a member of the Porsche Board of Regents. Because inventory is scarce, Sullivan said, dealers struggle to fill their service fleets and satisfy retail customer demand. He said: "That's a pretty good problem."
Dealers asked for more inventory for service fleets. Lawrence said Porsche will work with the dealer council to address the issue. Porsche wants feedback on balancing allocation of the Cayenne to the service loaner program vs. retail customers.
Porsche aims to improve allocation for the Cayenne this year, Lawrence said. The vehicle has been in short supply. The Cayenne ended 2013 with a 20-day supply, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
Said Lawrence: "We hope to get closer to [demand] this year."