Jens Puttfarcken, president and CEO of Porsche China, is not the type of person who would usually pat himself on the back. Yet he said he would give the carmaker’s performance in China in 2020 a top score.
“From a scale of one to 10, I am always hesitant to give it a 10. But this time, we are very much at a 10, taking into consideration how the year of 2020 started,” Puttfarcken told China Daily in an exclusive interview last week.
Porsche had a good 2019 and everything was looking fine in January, during which Puttfarcken traveled on business trips back and forth between Shanghai and Stuttgart, Germany, the carmaker’s headquarters.
All of a sudden there was the outbreak of coronavirus, followed by lockdowns, empty showrooms and a nosedive in deliveries in February 2020.
Going through all the hardship, including a six-week production suspension in Germany, Porsche ended the turbulent year with a satisfactory result.
A record 88,968 vehicles were delivered in China for the year, up 3 percent from 2019. That is almost one-third of Porsche’s total sales globally. Puttfarcken said Porsche collected more orders in China than it could deliver in the year.
A closer look reveals that the pandemic resulted in sales growth for many luxury brands ranging from Louis Vuitton to Porsche in an unexpected way.
The situation turned for the better much earlier in China, but overseas travel and shopping were something to fear, so surpluses grew in people’s bank accounts.
And having survived the hard time, consumers began to reward themselves with what life has to offer.
The mentality was further evidenced by the sales rise in two-door sports cars, which are the core of Porsche. Sales rose 70 percent for the 911 and 50 percent for the 718, with total deliveries reaching 10,000 last year in China.
“The effect was very strong in the second half of 2020, and I believe it will continue into 2021,” Puttfarcken said.
This year will mark the 20th anniversary of Porsche’s arrival on the Chinese mainland. In 2001, its first dealership opened on Changan Avenue in Beijing. Last year, the number of sales outlets in China reached 134.
“So we will definitely have celebrations and campaigns. And we will definitely reflect on our development, which went hand-in-hand with the development of China in the last 20 years,” he said.
A number of new models will arrive as well, including the new Panamera, the first generation of which was unveiled in Shanghai, and the Taycan Cross Turismo, a new body variant of Porsche’s first electric vehicle.
Porsche has delivered around 20,000 Taycans across the world. Puttfarcken did not give the specific figure for China, but said three of four Taycan customers in the country were new to the brand.
Puttfarcken expects the new models will help its sales. He added that he was a little cautious about the estimate because of what happened last year.
“But I’m very confident if no new outbreak happens here in China, then at least for the first six months, we will see very positive results for Porsche.”