With the addition of the upcoming Macan SUV to its lineup later in 2014, Porsche is expecting its smaller sporty crossover to be a big hit in China. The company debuted its Panamera sedan at the 2009 Shanghai Auto Show, as well as debuting the next-generation Panamera plug-in hybrid at the 2013 Shanghai show. Clearly, Zuffenhausen considers China to be a major market for its products.
Deesch Papke, CEO of Porsche’s China operations, told Bloomberg, “We’re extremely optimistic about the success of the Macan.” This despite Porsche models having a stiff markup in China relative to prices in Europe and the United States. The basic Porsche Cayenne SUV sells for approximately $150,000, almost triple what it costs in the U.S. The Macan will be priced less than the Cayenne, but will likely be priced well above its projected mid-high $40,000 starting price in the U.S. in the Chinese market.
Porsche builds all of its models in Germany, unlike many other luxury brands, many of which build locally in China to avert the country’s stiff tariffs on imported cars. But China’s large and growing middle class, growing by as much as 10 million a year, ensures continued upward mobility of its citizens, and sustained demand for luxury goods. However, younger Chinese are more interested in smartphones, internet access and other status symbols of the electronic age. Papke wants to put cars back into the consciousness of China’s younger citizens.