German carmaker Volkswagen’s marque sports car brand Porsche is taking a two-pronged approach to its operations in the India market. The brand has been present here through the Volkswagen Group since April 2012 but is now looking to up the ante.
With improving economic indicators and the ever-growing number of millionaires in the country, Porsche is now looking to introduce more cars in India along with a focus on network expansion in a bid to climb the desirability ranking among Indian luxury car enthusiasts.
Speaking to Autocar Professional at the launch of the newly upgraded range of 911s in Mumbai on June 29, Porsche India’s newly appointed director, Pavan Shetty threw some light on the company’s priorities and the exciting product pipeline for the country.
“The first plan for us is to reach our customers and for that, we will increase our representation in the country. We will add more dealers in the coming months. We will have a dealer in Chennai and another in Hyderabad and also improve upon the existing service facilities,” Shetty revealed.
The 37-year old, who took up reins of the company in India in January 2016 after being at the helm of VW-owned supercar manufacturer Lamborghini for more than three years, believes that this expansion would not happen overnight, as appointing the right dealers is top of the agenda at the moment.
“We would rather have no dealers than wrong dealers for Porsche. It is going to be a strict process and hopefully, by next year we would have two more at least,” he said.
Pavan Shetty, director, Porsche India, unveiling the most powerful range of 911 supercars built yet on June 29 in Mumbai. Pricing ranges from Rs 1.40 crore for the Carrera to Rs 2.76 crore for the Turbo S Cabriolet (ex-showroom Maharashtra).
The plans for network expansion can be justified by the strong forecast for luxury car sales in the country. According to IHS Automotive, in 2015, luxury vehicle sales in India stood at 35,300 units. This is expected to grow to 87,300 units by 2020 with significant volumes being added by the existing players apart from new entrants.
The carmaker currently has six dealerships and eight service centres in the country at major cities such as Mumbai, Gurgaon, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata and Kochi.
New product offensive
The German luxury brand which imports its entire range of cars at the moment is launching at least two new models this year, apart from the recently unveiled 911 range. It has already has opened bookings for the Porsche 718 Cayman and the 718 Boxster prior to their official launch, with price-tags of Rs 80.13 lakh and Rs 83.95 lakh respectively (both ex- showroom Mumbai).
The 718 Boxster and the 718 Cayman are now powered by 2.0-litre, four- cylinder turbocharged engines, as compared to the 3.4-litre, six-cylinder, naturally aspirated ones of the previous generation.
The 2.0-litre engine will produce 300hp, propelling both cars from 0-100kph in 5.1 seconds, and onto a top speed of 275kph. Both cars come with a seven-speed automatic PDK gearbox.
This time round, Porsche will offer the cars with an “adequate” amount of equipment as standard, unlike the previous- generation Cayman and Boxster, which came with little standard equipment. Both cars come with ceramic brakes, bi-xenon headlamps with integrated four-point LED daytime running lights, electronically- folding exterior mirrors, sports seats, a Porsche 918-inspired sports steering wheel, the Porsche Communication Management system and an eight-speaker music system (six-speaker in the 718 Boxster) as standard.
Porsche will be launching the 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman soon, while deliveries will probably begin in November this year. Both cars will be available in standard and ‘S’ trims.
Macan and Able
The company will also be introducing the Macan SUV with a 2.0-litre engine, priced at around Rs 76.16 lakh (ex-showroom). Dealers have started taking bookings for the Macan 2.0 petrol and Porsche will start delivering the SUV later this year. The new petrol engine develops 252hp at 5000-6000rpm on the Macan. As with other Macan variants, the new model will come with an all-wheel-drive layout along with the seven- speed PDK auto gearbox. It has a claimed 0-100kph acceleration time of 6.7 seconds and a top speed of 229kph.
The 718 series along with the new Macan 2.0 litre will be the most affordable models with a Porsche badge to be sold in the country.
Speaking about the upcoming models, Shetty said that with the new Macan and the 718 series, Porsche will have a ‘much logical’ portfolio than it currently has in India and confirmed that the deliveries will commence in Q4 this year.
Pre-owned car business
Porsche, which makes all its cars in Germany only, has no immediate plans of local manufacturing in India.
Apart from expanding its new car retail footprint Porsche is also planning to enter the used car business in India. According to Shetty, the company is currently waiting for the right opportunity to tap the surging demand for used luxury cars in the country.
High depreciation rates of expensive luxury cars in India make them a lucrative option for enthusiasts and the market has grown from strength to strength in the last few years, with all major luxury carmakers such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW having their pre- owned car channels along with the emergence of online trade portals.
“We are looking at the used car business, it is a very complex process certifying the car, making sure dealers are ready and they are financially and technically sound. We have to strive for a seamless customer experience. We have used car businesses worldwide and it is a booming business in India as well. Now it is just a matter of time for us,” Shetty concluded.
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