Porsche is a powerhouse automotive brand; even a global pandemic couldn’t put a dent in its performance. The German supercar manufacturer sold more than 270,000 cars in 2020, a mere three per cent down on its sales figures for 2019. This is especially remarkable in light of the fact that Porsche had to cease all production activity for a period of six weeks during 2020, because of the pandemic. Despite the setback, Porsche fought back, and not only did the company avoid a slump in sales, but also managed to sell more than 20,000 units of its new all-electric supercar, the Taycan, which is also scheduled to make its debut in India very soon.
As India prepares to emerge from last year’s economic slowdown, luxury sports cars sales are expected to accelerate in 2021, and Porsche definitely wants a bigger slice of the pie. To this end, the company is launching its first Porsche Studio in New Delhi, which will offer a premium buying experience to the fortunate few who’ll soon be parking a Porsche in their garage. Porsche Studios have earlier been set up in Beirut, Guangzhou, Milan, Bangkok, Seoul, London, Taoyuan, and Hsinchu (the last two are both in Taiwan), and New Delhi joins the list as the first such facility in India. Porsche Studios provide an immersive, interactive customer experience that’s a few notches above what a regular showroom can provide. Here, prospective Porsche customers can choose their car in an upscale, luxury ambience, and customise it extensively, choosing from a wide range of options and configuring their car via a massive, full-colour LED touchscreen. A private sales suite on the premises affords complete privacy for buyers, who can discuss and close the sales process with a personal consultant. Enthusiasts can also get their hands on a wide range of Porsche memorabilia, and drink some excellent coffee, while getting an eyeful of the four wheeled beauties from Zuffenhausen.
The full range of the latest Porsche cars will be available at the Porsche Studio in New Delhi, including the two SUVs (Macan and Cayenne), the four-door Panamera, and the all-out two-door sports cars, the 718, and the range-topping 911. The 911 is, of course, the Porsche that most enthusiasts dream about owning some day. Even the ace rally driver, Walter Röhrl (who won the World Rally Championship in 1980 and 1982, and who was referred to as a ‘genius on wheels’ by three-time F1 world champion, the late Niki Lauda) isn’t impervious to the 911’s charms. “It is quite incredible; it leaves me almost speechless. The 911 Turbo drives at the level of a super sports car, but you can put anyone behind the wheel without having to be afraid. There is no oversteer or understeer; it’s just unbelievably fast. I take my hat off to the development department, because this vehicle’s talents were simply inconceivable a few years ago,” says Röhrl. So, whether it’s the 911 that you’ve been lusting after, or the new all-electric Taycan that’s the object of your dreams, the new Porsche Studio in New Delhi is the place you need to visit. The Studio will open on January 21 and, due to health and safety protocols, visits for now are only by prescheduled appointment.
MW caught up with Dr Manfred Bräunl, Chief Executive Officer, Porsche Middle East, and Africa FZE. Here are some excerpts from what he has to say about Porsche’s plans for India in 2021.
On global challenges faced in 2020
Globally, Porsche recorded very solid demand, with only a three per cent lower retail number when compared to 2019. Following the lockdown in the second quarter, which naturally affected our business, we enjoyed the best second half result in five years. It has been a year unlike any other, with many unexpected challenges, but I’m pleased to say we’ve dealt with it head on. Thanks to flexible business plans, fast support measures, creative concepts and above all, the support of our Porsche importers across the region, we can be proud of what we have achieved.
On India plans for 2021
The next chapter is to build on that [the previous year’s] performance under the new leadership of Manolito Vujicic, the newly-appointed Brand Head of Porsche India. 2021 will see the arrival of some very exciting models, with the introduction of the all-new, fully-electric Taycan in India, the latest generation Panamera, and much more. In addition, our focus is to finalise a range of new facility projects across the region, such as India’s first Porsche Studio in Delhi.
On expectations from the Taycan and supporting electric mobility in India
Considering the very positive feedback from customers and media across the globe since the world premiere of the Taycan, we are now looking forward to its premiere in India, and are in full swing to prepare for it. All Porsche dealers are currently busy setting up some of the mandatory hardware such as workshop equipment and charging stations, while the certification of staff members through several training modules is ongoing. India, as a market, is committed to becoming a strong player in electric mobility within our region. No doubt, the local charging infrastructure for hybrid and electric vehicles will be better in the medium term. We are preparing to actively participate in the electrification of India’s mobility concept. Our research shows that the vast majority of Taycan drivers will charge their car at home. For this, our recommended partners will install the desired charging solution at the customer’s home, following a detailed check. And, with the Taycan’s driving range of up to 484km, there is almost no difference to internal combustion vehicles with regards to everyday use. Last but not least, our programme called Porsche Destination Charging will add further support. It’s an action plan to provide conveniently located charging points at popular locations, like hotels and malls, for the customers’ peace of mind.
On why Porsche chose New Delhi for setting up its first Porsche Studio in India, and the Studio’s key highlights
Delhi is one of our key regions in India. With the full support of Dilmohan Singh, Dealer Principal of Porsche Centre Delhi-NCR, this amazing facility in Connaught Place presents our innovative showroom concept in one of the busiest neighbourhoods in Delhi. The Studio is based on a futuristic showroom concept; a new brand space that goes beyond the traditional showroom format. The aim is to be where customers are, and to attract new target groups in city centres. It’s a lifestyle boutique store for our Porsche family of customers and enthusiasts, with displays and digital touchpoints beyond just products, ranging from heritage and lifestyle to the future of the brand.
On whether Porsche plans to conduct track days for customers at BIC, which is only around 50km from the Porsche Studio
Porsche India has held events at the Buddh International Circuit in the past. Naturally, the team will look at further opportunities to use this state-of-the-art location in the future, to showcase our range of two-door and four-door sports cars, featuring genuine motorsport genes, on track.