Porsche finished last year in position to retain the title of world's most profitable automotive brand. That success is one reason that despite the fallout from parent Volkswagen Group's emissions-cheating scandal Porsche plans to add jobs rather than cut them. CEO Oliver Blume will need the extra employees to help Porsche produce its first full-electric car. He spoke about that and more with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Christiaan Hetzner.
Volkswagen Group will lower its capital expenditure ratio. Are you affected?
Drawing conclusions based on our annual spending isn't sensible, since our budget is event-specific and heavily targeted toward new model line launches, like the 1 billion euro overall capex investment in the Mission E [electric car]. Our recent [infrastructure] expansions, such as the new engine plant, mean we no longer face capacity constraints.
Sister brand VW hopes for a productivity boost by cutting 23,000 from its headcount in Germany. Does Porsche also need to improve to guarantee its minimum 15 percent operating margin target?
We consider our goal of 6 percent annual productivity gains in manufacturing to be appropriate and achievable with our workforce, so that will remain in the coming years. Our profit margin reached 17.4 percent in the third quarter of 2016, allowing us to retain our position as one of the most profitable automobile manufacturers in the world. Incidentally, the Mission E will lead us to add more than 1,000 new jobs at Porsche.
After exceeding your 200,000 global sales target in 2015, three years ahead of schedule, what comes next?
We intentionally decided against chasing after another volume target. Enthusiastic customers, a solid return and secure jobs are more important to us than unit sales. Our 0.3 percent share of the global market will likely not change in the future, though.
Do you need to acquire a strategic supplier for the Mission E like you did for the Panamera? Its all-aluminum exterior would not have been possible without Kuka's expertise.
At the moment, I don't see any, but that can change. The Kuka deal was important since about 90 percent of all sheet metal we use at Porsche will be aluminum in the future and we needed their toolmaking expertise in-house.