NEW YORK (Bloomberg) -- Not every automaker at every car show debuts some crazy concept or high-power brand-new model.
Many times, and especially this year at the New York auto show, the debuts are racing versions or so-called facelifts on existing models.
But auto shows are also major opportunities for networking among the ranks -- among journalists, executives and publicists alike -- and for introducing yourself to key players when you’re the new guy.
So it goes this week with Porsche. At the show this week in Manhattan, the German automaker introduced three model upgrades -- the 911R, 718 Boxster and an efficient four-cylinder Macan -- along with its new president of North America, Klaus Zellmer.
Zellmer was promoted to the role in November as part of an executive reshuffle within parent company Volkswagen after the diesel engine-fixing scandal last year. So while Porsche didn’t show a super-hyped new concept, it is using the show to devote massive amounts of time and energy to laying the groundwork, across all platforms, for electric, hybrid and, other efficient but non-diesel vehicles in the next two decades.
At the moment Zellmer, who from 2010 until 2015 was the well-respected managing director of Porsche Germany, seems to be the right guy for the job.
“You have to adapt,” he said today in New York. “At the moment, that means it’s a lot about hybrids.”
The $47,500 Macan in particular hints at the way forward, although its tiny four-cylinder engine has caused some unrest among the fanboy and track-fiends who bemoan the paltry cylinder count. (Zellmer called the small SUV "progressive" and praised its 0-60mph capacity of 6.1 seconds.)
Porsche will show an S, GTS and Turbo versions, but the 248-horsepower four-cylinder version, with a 25 mpg combined fuel efficiency (an 18 percent improvement over the 6-cylinder version) and updated safety systems, has garnered the most hype.
Zellmer says the vehicle shows how Porsche is striking a balance between tradition and innovation. You can be modern and embrace your heritage, he said.