Porsche, which easily surpassed its goal of 200,000 annual global sales in 2015, will review its strategy in the middle of the year. New Porsche sales boss Detlev von Platen, who took over last November after successfully running the automaker’s North American arm, wasn't ready to reveal Porsche's next long-term target, but he did predict another year of worldwide growth for the brand. He met with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Christiaan Hetzner at the Detroit auto show last month.
What is your team looking into as part of the strategy review?
Everything that can differentiate us with a more exclusive premium service is interesting in the future. For instance, apps that might enable our customers to find parking spaces easier than others, since 30 percent of the traffic in major cities today is caused by people looking to park. Another example could be a multi-leasing product that allows a 911 customer to drive a Cayenne on vacation.
After the Macan helped push Porsche past the 225,000 mark in 2015, will we see sales stagnate this year?
We want to continue growing but it will be steady, value-oriented and long term. [Last year] was strong with double-digit growth rates not only in the U.S. but in all five of our sales regions. A balanced global presence is very important, since volatility throughout the world will remain. In the U.S. we don't yet know what impact the Fed rate hike will have on the economy or what role the election will play. We need to expect the unexpected.
Porsche beat its 200,000 sales target by three years. What's the next goal?
We will never, especially with me [as sales boss], focus on volume as a goal of its own. Instead it should be a clear expression of the strength of the brand. Exclusivity is measured not just by sales but by customer experience. That's why we’re asking our dealers to invest heavily in staff training and new retail formats such as city showrooms.
How will your key segments perform?
We forecast worldwide car sales in general to grow by 2.5 percent on average for the next five years. Premium will grow faster than the overall market, while luxury SUVs, both large and small, will expand even faster. Demand for premium coupes and cabrios is stable, however, and is very much product-driven.
We've heard that Porsche plans to introduce plug-in hybrids all the way down to its entry model, which will soon be the Cayman. True?
We haven't made any announcement yet, but I wouldn't rule this out. We are working on a strategy review for the brand, which we will present in the middle of 2016. It will include alternative powertrains such as plug-ins and battery electric vehicles.