16/05/2012 MOTOR: 2013 Porsche 918 Spyder Coupe. Pic. Supplied Source: Supplied
PORSCHE is developing a supercar to take on Ferrari to shore up its sports car credentials as buyers increasingly opt for its offroaders.
The Cayenne, its large SUV, accounts for more than 50 per cent of the company’s sales. Porsche will add a smaller model next year, the Macan, that is likely to be even more popular.
Sports-car sales are up thanks to a complete overhaul of its core model, the 911, but along with its two other sports cars, the Boxster and Cayman, make up just 26 per cent of sales.
The problem is especially acute in developing markets such as China and Russia, where Porsche is better known for the Cayenne or its large sedan, the Panamera, and there is no tradition of motorsport.
Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller said Porsche was working on a Ferrari rival for sale in 2016 that would sit above the 911, its core sports car, on price and performance.
Speaking at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which opened today, he said it would be a mid-engine car and share engineering with other brands in the Volkswagen group such as Lamborghini and Audi.
“It’s a good idea to take care of the sports car image of our brand. And it should be a success economically,” Mueller said.
The centrepiece of Porsche’s stand was the new Cayman coupe, a mid-engined car that sits below the 911, but the brand had already decided against a cheaper sportscar in favour of a more expensive model.
Mueller said design work was already underway and the new car would be a permanent part of the range.
Next year Porsche breaks new ground with the 918 supercar, which has a hybrid driveline and will be built in limited numbers finishing in 2015. A hybrid driveline would be possible in the new car if it’s successful in the 918.
Porsche will also return to the Le Mans 24 hour race in 2014, where it holds the record number of 16 wins.
“The heart of the brand is motorsport and from my point of view it was not a good decision a few years ago to leave,” Mueller said. “We cannot talk about a motorsport tradition and do nothing. We have to foster the brand.”
Porsche is on track for a record year. It made 116,000 sales for the first 10 months and has a goal of 200,000 sales in 2018.
Mueller said the target was for 40 per cent of volume to be sports cars by then. “We will be positioned for as long as possible as a sportscar company. A Cayenne or Panamera are another format of car but the most sporty cars in their segment.”